By moving towards bumper harvests for the current campaign, the agricultural sector is once again showing unfailing resilience and asserting itself as a sure bet in the Moroccan economy.
The life-saving rains observed at the start of the 2020/2021 agricultural season, having offered a restorative respite to farmers plagued by painful periods of drought, were quick to produce positive effects in the various agricultural sectors.
On April 29, rainfall reached 291 mm, up 32%, year-on-year, giving pride of place to the three main cereals (soft wheat, durum wheat and barley), whose forecast production is estimated at 98 million quintals, up 206% compared to the 2019/20 campaign and 54.8% compared to the five-year average.
Cereal production was not up to date during the previous season which suffered from poor rainfall, down 31% from the 30-year average (348 mm) made worse by a poor temporal distribution.
The current season has benefited greatly from rainfall characterized by continuity over time, good spatial distribution and occurrence with key stages of cereal development (tillering, bolting and filling), in addition to the impact of temperatures relatively below the levels reached in 2020, the supervisory ministry recently clarified.
This campaign is also distinguished by a forecast yield 10% higher than the average yield of the five best cereal seasons (20.1 qx/ha) since 2008, thanks to a sown cereal area of 4.35 million hectares whose state vegetative is 75% good to very good.
The other crops are not left out with such promising performances. The sugar beet harvest has already started, and flowering citrus and olive trees are showing good prospects, but this is still dependent on changing weather conditions, particularly temperatures in May and June.
National livestock: a reassuring state
Less than 3 months before the celebration of Eid Al Adha, the livestock sector is also aligned with the good performance of this campaign. The food situation of the herds has improved markedly thanks to the availability of fodder on the range and the good cereal season in sight.
In this sense, the Ministry of Agriculture ensures the health situation of the national herd, deemed “satisfactory” in all regions of Morocco, thanks to the continuous health monitoring of the condition of the herd and the various vaccination campaigns carried out against the diseases. contagious animal diseases and those with economic impact.
Despite the succession of two disappointing agricultural seasons in terms of rainfall, the herd numbers, made up of nearly 21.6 million sheep, 6 million goats, 3.3 million cattle and 192,000 camels, have been maintained, thanks to the support received by the livestock sector as part of the livestock safeguard programs launched by the ministry.
Water: better filled dams
The resumption of rainfall has positively affected the reservoirs of the main national dams which reached, on March 3, 2021, more than 8.26 billion cubic meters (m3), a filling rate of 51.3%, against 49.8% on the same date in 2020.
In detail, the Alwahda dam has the largest reservoir with a volume reaching 2.619 billion m3 and a filling rate of 74.4%, followed by the Idriss 1st dam with a reservoir of 893 million m3, a filling rate of 79.1%, against 85.3% at the same date last year (963.3 million m3).
In view of their crucial role in terms of irrigation, dams constitute key infrastructures at the service of the agricultural sector in the different regions which can give rise to relief, following this improvement in water reserves which alleviates increasing water stress. As part of the national drinking water supply and irrigation program 2020-2027, the government aims to increase the total capacity of dams to 27 billion m3. The works of five large new dams will be launched in 2021, for an overall budget estimated at MAD 4.8 billion and a capacity of 525 million m3.
By counting on a forecast agricultural added value of MAD 130 billion for the year 2021, a growth of 18.2%, the sector will undoubtedly play the role incumbent on it in terms of reviving the national economy and amortization of the economic shock induced by the Covid-19 health crisis.
With the advent of the new agricultural strategy called “Generation Green 2020-2030”, placing the farmer at the heart of its concerns, Moroccan agriculture is more than ever equipped to continue the good momentum started by the Green Morocco Plan and meet new challenges in a world in full reconfiguration.