Would you believe that Morocco’s agricultural potential starts with one drop? A drop coming from one of the country’s rivers that originate from the Millennium Atlas Mountains. Oum Er Rbia, the country’s second largest river, is one of them. It supplies water to half of Morocco’s large scale irrigated areas.
The Oum Er Rbia passes through the Doukkala region in west central Morocco, a region known for its fertile plains. In Doukkala, as in many other agricultural regions of the country, irrigation is crucial as it contributes to increasing agricultural productivity, while securing greater income for farmers. However, water scarcity, accentuated by climate change, represents a growing challenge for farmers in the region, who draw most of their irrigation water from the neighboring river.
To promote a more sustainable irrigation model, the government of Morocco has developed a national plan to help optimize water use and increase productivity in irrigated agriculture (Plan National d’Economie d’Eau d’Irrigation, PNEEI). In large scale irrigated areas, managed by the regional agricultural development offices (Office Régional de Mise en Valeur Agricole, ORMVA), the plan supports the modernization of the irrigation network to provide a better water service to farmers. An effort welcomed by farmers, who have a keen interest in more reliable access to water, which is key for achieving greater productivity, and thus increased income.