SEATTLE — In Morocco, agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy. Sustainable agriculture in Morocco contributes 15 percent of the overall GDP in the country and provides 40 percent of jobs. To maintain a thriving agricultural sector, projects have been put in place to modernize production and improve the progress of alleviating poverty and maintaining social structures in rural societies.
Green Morocco Plan
In 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Maritime Fishing created the Green Morocco Plan. Their goal is to speed up the development of modern and competitive agriculture, which they believe is necessary to improve the economy. The additional objective is to guarantee food safety and increase value while also decreasing the impact of climate change.
The GMP focuses on two pillars. Pillar I concentrates on modern agriculture with high added value, while Pillar II focuses on farmers who are in a more vulnerable situation. The purpose of Pillar I is to combine and create sufficient agriculture that is adapted to the market. This pillar is comprised of 700 to 900 projects and 100 to 150 billion dirhams of investment over 10 years.
Pillar II aims to decrease poverty in rural areas by improving farm income substantially in the most struggling zones. Pillar II has 550 community projects that will be completed with an investment of 15 to 20 billion dirhams. Both pillars hope to dramatically improve sustainable agriculture in Morocco.
Solar Project in Morocco
Towards the end of 2017, Morocco released their plans of investing €200 million in a solar project to serve agricultural growth in their country. The project will be under the guidance of the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development. The purpose of the program is to encourage the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation use. This will reduce energy costs for farmers and will enable them to use less butane gas in their farming processes. Because energy production is one of the main costs of farming, solar power will not only reduce costs, but it will also create more flexibility.
By 2021, the plan is set to increase agricultural water access to upwards of 100,000 hectares of new land. This will significantly improve agricultural productivity and profits. The Moroccan government plans to subsidize solar pumping solutions in order to ensure that larger farms can develop into more self-sufficient businesses.
Strengthening Agri-Food Value Chains Program
The Strengthening Agri-Food Value Chains Program is a project set to improve sector growth by promoting agri-business and its competitiveness as well as increasing market efficiency. Funded by the World Bank, $200 million was approved for this project as of December 2017. The World Bank hopes to improve sustainable agriculture in Morocco while also making progress to eliminate poverty within the country.
The project will improve the small and medium agri-food producers and enterprises and their integration in agri-food chains. It will also strengthen the sustainability of value chains. Additionally, by enhancing the agri-food market efficiency, the program will help modernize a new model of management for wholesale markets by improving their access to market prices. The project will also connect small producers with larger buyers in order to enhance the participation of small and medium producers.
All of these projects are part of the process to promote sustainable agriculture in Morocco and in turn, better lives for its citizens through jobs and business opportunities. Continued focus on this goal can ensure job opportunities and food security for many more people.
– McCall Robison