Food, Water and Energy Security in Morocco – Moroccan Depth

The exceptional international situation that characterized the beginning of the third millennium contributed to the fact that the issues of food, health and energy sovereignty strongly returned to the forefront of countries’ concerns. Political, economic, social and environmental changes require that the programs and plans of governments around the world be reviewed with the aim of ensuring security and self-sufficiency in strategic resources.

The world is currently living with the impact of rapid developments and sudden events such as the spread and multitude of epidemics (Corona, bird flu, swine flu, mad cow disease, monkey radicals, …). The repercussions of extreme climate changes and events (natural disasters, droughts, fires, …) have also worsened.

The complexity of political and economic crises and hotbed of military tensions (the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Korea, Taiwan), where the great powers, led by the United States of America, China and Russia, accelerate and compete for resources and influence, within the framework of difficult labor that represents the formation of a new international order.

Morocco’s highest political will is clear to face these challenges. In October 2021, King Mohammed VI emphasized the need to create an integrated national system related to the strategic stock of basic materials, especially food, health and energy, in a way that the country’s strategic security.

Morocco suffers from a critical water situation characterized by years of drought and a lack of rain and snowfall, exacerbated by high temperature and evaporation. The government has declared a water emergency, and has begun taking urgent measures to ensure that cities and metropolitan areas are supplied with drinking water, in light of the dangerous decline in the dams’ supply.

The data distributed by the Ministry of Equipment and Water ranked the year 2021 among the 4 warmest years since 1981, after the previous ones 2020, 2017 and 2010. The dry years between 2018 and 2022 respectively recorded a deficit in water import which were estimated at 54%, 71%, 59% and 85% compared to the annual average.

In 2022, many Moroccan dams recorded the lowest water input in their history. For example, the Sidi Mohamed bin Abdullah dam received only 51 million cubic meters, with a deficit of 93% above the annual rate. The maximum snow-covered area decreased from 45,000 square kilometers in 2018 to 5,000 square kilometers in 2022.

Since its independence, Morocco has accumulated several institutional, logistical and technical gains in the management of its water resources, through the policy of dams that have allowed the irrigation of 1.5 million hectares, and it has started early to build the first seawater desalination plants. established, and created several projects. to treat wastewater, in addition to supporting drip irrigation programs.

On the other hand, however, many indicators show that Morocco’s agricultural policy and map have in turn contributed to the pressure on natural resources, as the underground water beds have not been spared from overexploitation, while dams have been exposed to mud and evaporation, and medicinal and aromatic plants face serious decline.

This is a pressure caused by allowing the expansion of the areas of crops and plants that use the most water (eucalyptus, strawberries, citrus, tomatoes, avocados, bananas, watermelons), especially those that are exported and international markets, as well as some secondary uses (swimming pools, golf courses, decorative grass, …).

The mattresses of the large irrigated areas have therefore been subjected to severe depletion, losing more than a meter annually for continuous decades (Sous, Sais, Al Haouz, Tadla, Beheira and others), while the levels of their counterparts with less than a meter per year (Ain Bani Mathar, Berrechid, Chaouia, Angad, Raml, Gharb and El-Ayoun).

While Morocco is achieving self-sufficiency at the level of vegetables, fruit, milk, red and white meat, it has a major deficit in the production of cereals, fodder, pulses and oilseeds, which are materials of a strategic nature for its food security is. , and is suffering from major unrest related to international supply chains.

Facing the threats to livestock herds requires urgent and serious interventions, due to the deterioration of pastures, the decrease in water points and the high cost of feed. According to the data of the willful ministry, Morocco has 20 million sheep, about 6 million goats, more than 3 million cows, in addition to a limited herd of less than 180,000 camels.

The Moroccan markets suffer from a clear increase in the prices of vegetables and meat, especially during the last decade, to which all the international situation and the agricultural map have contributed, together with the demographic growth, the high demand and the large urban spread on the fertile farmland near the cities.

Several types of fish have recorded a significant increase in prices, which is absolutely incompatible with Morocco’s availability on two sea fronts and great potential for aquaculture (Mediterranean and Atlantic), while other countries benefit from the national fish wealth in the framework of necessarily unfair contracts.

There are many environmental risks that threaten food security, including the elimination of large parts of the cactus habitat, the disappearance of bees from apiaries in some areas, the decline of plant seeds and indigenous Moroccan animal breeds that are resistant to drought and disease and their replacement. with imported ones, the pollution of valleys that killed their fish, and the increase in forest fires.

The use of a geographical approach that combines spatial, economic, social and environmental dimensions will provide an objective academic reading of the strengths and weaknesses of agricultural, water and environmental policies, and contribute to the proposal of practical scenarios to maximize the gains improve and address the various challenges. security and Moroccan self-sufficiency, and the sustainability of its natural resources.

Participation axes:

Study of international markets for food: opportunities and risks, map of major producers, evolution of prices, food diplomacy.

Review of the Moroccan agricultural map: the outcome of agricultural policies, a study of price development, the location of the small farmer, local and rustic products, the protection of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Urban agriculture and aquaculture: successful international experiences, possible gains, Moroccan programs and projects.

Water policy and the protection of natural resources: infrastructure, study of risks, environmental security, distribution and consumption maps, competition of economic sectors, storage imbalances.

Moroccan energy security: problems of the international market, the country’s energy map, renewable energy projects, energy discoveries, transmission lines and energy connectivity.

Development of strategic storage structures: international experiences, national consumption map, priorities and needs of the national market, the Moroccan storage system.

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