Environmentalists call for radical change in agricultural policy

Morocco has been suffering from increasing water stress for several years, causing concern among ecologists. Gathered around the “Morocco environment 2050” movement, these ecologists are launching a real plea consisting in the “immediate cessation” of two water-intensive tropical fruit crops, namely watermelon and avocado.

Faced with the scarcity of water resources and in a context where the Kingdom is in the grip of its worst drought for 30 years, demands for a radical change in agricultural policy in Morocco are becoming more and more numerous.

The last call is made by the movement “ Morocco environment 2050″, who pleads for a revision ofand agricultural policy. the movement promotes stopping the cultivation of watermelon and avocado.

Faced with an emergency situation, the movement at the same time called on the government to eliminate all crops that dry up the country’s groundwater and promote drought.

In its plea, the “Morocco Environment 2050” movement argues that the avocado tree consumes a huge amount of water knowing that one kilo of avocado, or about five fruits, alone requires 1,000 liters of water.

At the same time, one kilo of watermelons planted in the desert consumes 45 liters of water when using drip technology. As a result, “a watermelon weighing 10 kg can consume 450 liters of fresh water”, according to the movement.

→ Read also: Water stress: after sanitary water, drinking water is becoming scarce

In this regard, environmentalists believe that Morocco actually exports one of its most precious natural resources, namely its groundwater, to export it in the form of fruits. This constitutes a “threat” to the security of the country’s water resources, especially since the cultivation of avocado trees requires irrigation with drinking water.

The movement relied on the example of the watermelon whose weight is made up of 80% water to remind us that its export is nothing other than the export of a rare commodity to be protected. ” The export of 10 kg of watermelons abroad is equivalent toa quantity of 8 kg of non-renewable groundwatergiven abroad without return. he says.

Moreover, other experts underline the interest of having a “promising” niche capable of generating added value for Moroccan agriculture. But also to help remedy the shortcomings of the agricultural trade balance. As they emphasize these contributions both socially and economically, insofar as the culture of the avocado tree makes it possible to attract colossal investments from abroad.

It is therefore a dilemma which arises acutely. Should we produce these fruit crops for export or conserve water resources knowing that they are in continuous decline?

Related Articles:  wind, a lot of rain, and snow will fall on Belgium this Monday, warns the IRM

Indeed, the shortage of water is increasingly felt in different regions of the Kingdom.

The Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, underlined, during a meeting with the Committee on Energy, Mines and the Environment at the House of Representatives, that all the Hydraulic basins of the Kingdom are experiencing a glaring deficit, thus affecting the supply of drinking water to several regions of the country.

An alarming situation that raises questions about the relevance and effectiveness of the policies deployed by the government.

Admittedly, Morocco has put in place a series of strategies to minimize the damage and ensure that the situation improves in the years to come. The construction of 120 river dams by 2023 as well as the strengthening of programs dedicated to the desalination of seawater and wastewater are part of this.

However, these measures remain “insufficient”, according to Mohamed Benata, agricultural engineer, doctor of geography and president of the Espace de solidarité et de coopération de l’Oriental (ESCO).

“Morocco has instituted public policies, especially in the agricultural field, aimed at the overexploitation of underground water resources to encourage the production and export of crops that consume too much water. This has led to the lowering of all the water tables across the country, which is a very serious strategic error. Morocco has made a lot of effort in the construction of dams, only an evaluation study of this experience of more than sixty years should be made to draw the consequences and lessons”. he laments

In addition, the agricultural engineer said that “only saving rains for the next September-October season can save the country from a social, economic and environmental disaster”, given the current situation of the water resources that it qualifies as “critical”.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.