Exceptional measures in Morocco to confront drought

Some regions of the country have begun to impose restrictions on the cultivation of water-consuming watermelons, the latest of which was the Chichaoua region (central Morocco), where the planted area of ​​watermelons was limited to five hectares per well.

The Kingdom is witnessing the most severe rain shortage in more than 3 decades, as the national average precipitation did not exceed 75 mm, recording a 64 percent decrease compared to a normal season.

Morocco launched an exceptional program worth 10 billion dirhams (about 1.7 billion dollars) to support rural areas and help workers in the agricultural sector to face the effects of drought and limit its impact on their agricultural activities.

watermelon ghost

Civil and environmental activists warn of the spread of waste watermelon cultivation with the successive years of drought, and have expressed more than once their concern about the danger posed by this type of cultivation.

The competent authorities in a number of watermelon-growing areas have begun to impose special measures in order to reduce the excessive depletion of water. with water.

Abdelkader Olayesh, who is interested in environmental affairs in the governorate of Tata, says that the cultivation of watermelon was one of the main reasons that contributed to the severe shortage of water resources in the region during the last three years, which significantly affected the population’s water supply, and the needs of other agricultural villages. Irrigation water, especially during the peak watering period that falls in March of each year.

Olayesh added in a statement to “Sky News Arabia”, that the activities of a city concerned with environmental affairs in the region, along with the population, on several occasions alerted the authorities to the dangers of these crops, which drain huge amounts of groundwater.

The spokesman continues that the measures taken from today’s limits remain insufficient to reduce the danger posed by the red melon waste to his region, calling for encouraging environmentally friendly cultivations that preserve water resources and are compatible with the nature of the region.

stop bleeding

The Tata region, like other regions suffering from water scarcity, witnessed the development of an exceptional plan in order to enhance the water supply and reduce the depletion of water resources.

Abdel-Ati Qamy, director of the Water Basin Agency for the Draa Oued Noun region (south), told Sky News Arabia, “We have worked, under the current circumstances, to control the expansion of irrigated agricultural areas, and to tighten the conditions for granting licenses related to drilling wells in number of regions.

The director of the agency, which is responsible for developing plans for preparing and managing water resources, adds that these measures are only measures among others that have been adopted in order to preserve the underground water reserve or (the water bed), which is a source to meet the needs of some areas of drinking water in light of the lack of The existence of other alternatives.

Qammi stressed that areas such as Tata and Zagora in particular, have witnessed in recent years a wide spread of watermelon cultivation, which calls for legalization and framing of this type of cultivation to limit its excessive water depletion.

The spokesperson pointed out that in areas facing challenges related to water scarcity, a water spread contract (a set of technical, organizational and institutional measures) has been prepared in order to intensify awareness campaigns for farmers about the importance of shifting towards alternative crops with greater cost, and to integrate all water users in managing these biomaterial.

Encouraging alternative crops

In light of the scarcity of rains and the decreasing of water resources, a number of experts in the agricultural field called for limiting the cultivations that deplete the water bed, and in return work to encourage crops adapted to climate changes.

The agricultural expert, Abbas El-Tanji, says that encouraging irrigated crops and providing support for farmers to dig wells has contributed to the expansion of areas planted with non-essential products, some of which drain huge amounts of water, such as watermelons and avocados.

Speaking to “Sky News Arabia”, Al-Tanji believes that it has become necessary today to develop programs to frame these types of crops, and to issue a decision to ban them in areas experiencing water scarcity due to the lack of rainfall.

In the face of the current climatic challenges, the agricultural expert called for the need to encourage the cultivation of basic materials such as grains and fruit trees, and to support foul cultivation in line with the available water resources, in addition to tracking and qualifying farmers in the areas of innovative irrigation.

A national plan to counter the effects of drought

Morocco announced the launch of a national plan to mitigate the effects of the delay in rainfall, reduce its impact on agricultural activity, and provide assistance to farmers and livestock breeders concerned.

This plan aims to counter the effects of drought, by protecting animal and plant capital, managing water shortages, alleviating financial burdens on farmers, and ensuring agricultural insurance.

It also aims to finance the supply of wheat and livestock feed to the national market, in addition to financing innovative investments in the field of irrigation.

According to this exceptional program, 7 million quintals of subsidized barley will be distributed to livestock breeders, 400,000 tons of compound feed to dairy cattle breeders, 27 million sheep and goats, 200,000 heads of camels, and bees will be treated for Faroese disease.

The program includes several other measures, including working to speed up drought insurance procedures for farmers, and rescheduling their debts.

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