The agricultural sector scans a blue sky and without a shadow of a cloud

The rains, which are becoming increasingly rare in our regions, raise concerns about water stress. And if the previous exercise was one of the most preponderant for decades, nothing should be seen there other than the famous tree hiding the forest. Generally, in Morocco, the months of December and January are rainy and generate significant contributions to national water reserves.

However, this is not the case this time, which raises fears of an agricultural season of the least. Some regions are more affected than others by water stress and drought. This is the case of Souss-Massa and the Moulouya basin in particular where the level of water reserves is currently at its lowest. But the other regions are not better off, as evidenced by the particularly low fillings of dams and water reservoirs. Also, we will not hold it against those who scrutinize a blue sky and who, moreover, resist staying so without the shadow of a cloud.

It is that since the end of the summer, Morocco has recorded a severe rainfall deficit and the “real rains” are still awaited for the current financial year. Meteorological readings conducted for a little over half a century (1960s) in Morocco show a phenomenon of warming -up to four degrees-. Combined with a drop in the level of annual precipitation, according to various studies, this gives this situation of “Moulana y chouf“.

As a result, our agri-food system is more than ever exposed to shocks and situations of “water stress”. Therefore, it must prepare without delay for new “shocks” in the future, as recently pointed out by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In Morocco, 80% of water resources are used by agriculture (40% come from groundwater and 60% from surface water). Which is one deca, more than the world average (nearly 70% of all available freshwater resources in the world are used for agriculture).

The Minister of Equipment and Water Nizar Baraka, more than ten days ago, before the deputies of the House of Representatives, noted that ” 57% of the water potential in Morocco was concentrated on 7% of the national territory “. This is the whole problem of water stress in the Kingdom. Admittedly, the Kingdom has, to compensate for this, a large number of hydraulic installations and structures, including nearly 150 large dams with a reservoir of more than 19 billion m3 and 9 seawater desalination stations. with a capacity of 147 million m3 per year.

The Kingdom also has thousands of wells for the exploitation of groundwater to the great displeasure of the water table, particularly in the region of Souss-Massa. But this whole structure is conditioned by the whims of the sky and a risk of collapse is quite possible. This year, the new government which has just arrived is called upon much more than its predecessors to solve this deficit among its priorities as required by the new development model (NMD).

As such and this is only the beginning, an emergency program of 3 billion dirhams has been set up by the department of Nizar Baraka to solve the problem of the scarcity of water resources, particularly in the rural world. . But is goodwill enough? Nothing is less certain as long as the water sector continues to experience certain deficits.

The execution of the water program as mentioned in the NMD was to require 115 billion dirhams for the establishment of an appropriate water policy to sustainably manage this resource with the aim of reducing the territorial and social disparities created by a flagrant lack. Nizar Baraka as a firefighter on duty will first consider attacking the main hydraulic basins impacted, including those of Oum Errabiaa, Moulouya, Souss-Massa as well as the Tensift watershed.

To overcome the scarcity of water resources in the Kingdom, the minister also noted that 120 hill dams will be built in all the provinces of the Kingdom by 2023. The drinking water and sanitation program 2020-2027 irrigation has so far enabled the launch of the construction of 11 large dams out of the 20 scheduled at a cost of 15 billion dirhams.

This announced desire is intended to be in the historical continuity of the policy of dams and large hydraulics initiated more than 50 years ago which has endowed Morocco with a hydro-agricultural heritage which contributes to the stabilization of agricultural production thanks to irrigation of more than one million hectares.

Today, the Kingdom has an area under irrigation of the order of more than 1.6 million hectares, and although this area covers only about 16% of the useful agricultural area of ​​the country, it contributes nevertheless to nearly 45% of the agricultural value added and for 75% of product exports. With a contribution of nearly 50% to job creation in rural areas, irrigated agriculture is also an important lever for job creation, the fight against poverty in rural areas and control of rural exodus. This contribution of irrigated agriculture is more decisive during drought years when production in Bour areas is severely affected because it is dependent on rainfall.

The Moroccan economy, deeply affected by Dame Covid, is dependent on the good health of its agricultural sector, the leading contributor (15%) of GDP (40% of the population lives from it) ahead of tourism, which has been on the back burner for two years and the only industry, along with agriculture today threatened by the scarcity of water, to have succeeded in standing up to the ravages of the health crisis.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here