The World Bank has just approved the financing of an investment project worth $180 million to support resilient and sustainable agriculture in Morocco.
“In the face of increased pressure from climate change and population growth on the country's water and land resources, the loan allocated to the Resilient and Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture (RESWAG) Project aims to strengthen the governance of the water resources in the agricultural sector, improve the quality of irrigation services and expand farmers' access to technical advice in this area," the financial institution said in a statement released in Washington.
According to the director of operations of the World Bank for the Maghreb and Malta, Jesko Hentschel, “agribusiness is a fundamental driver for the economic and social development of the Moroccan population.”
And remember that this sector represents 21% of GDP and almost 39% of employment, and these rates are even higher in rural areas. «Agriculture is at the heart of Morocco's economic and social ambitions, and the financing of this project supports this vital sector, in line with the 'Green Generation' strategy, the National Water Plan and the New Development Model that it pursues. the country”, Hentschel added.
According to the World Bank, the new project constitutes an "innovative and unique program, in that it combines structural investments, with the modernization of irrigation and drainage services, and intangible investments aimed at strengthening the governance of water resources and providing agricultural advice." . services to farmers.
It revolves around three parts. The first aims to improve the water governance framework and guarantee sustainable extractions in the agricultural sector
“The first component of the RESWAG project aims to complement Morocco's long-standing investments in water governance. It covers three priority strategic areas in terms of water conservation: making the water resource allocation process more flexible, optimizing aquifer management and better understanding the effects of programs to improve water productivity, in order to refine and readjust policies with one to take climate issues into account,” explains Rémi Trier, senior specialist in water resources management and co-leader of the project.
The second component is said to aim to provide climate-smart irrigation and drainage services by deploying water conservation techniques on new surfaces.
This approach will promote drought resilience, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage in soils. It involves modernizing hydraulic equipment (irrigation networks, canals, etc.) and providing public managers responsible for irrigation with the means to optimize irrigation and drainage services. The beneficiaries will be small farmers in large, collectively managed irrigation systems, with the aim of reaching around 16,000 farmers spread over more than 50,000 hectares, in Souss-Massa and Tadla, two of the country's most important watersheds for the agroeconomy. .
The third component plans to provide 23,500 farmers with advisory services aimed at optimizing investments, increasing climate resilience, and increasing water productivity.
“The project plans to support the national agency in charge of agricultural advisory services to expand farmers' access to advisory services adapted to climate problems. The objective is to increase the scope and quality of these services in irrigated areas, in particular by training public advisors and hiring consultants, who will facilitate the transition of farmers to modern irrigation techniques,” specifies Safaa Bahije. , specialist in water resources. and co-leader of the project.
According to the same source, the project will also pay special attention to women and young farmers, in order to "fully support the Green Generation strategy carried out by the authorities." A Conditional Emergency Response Component (CERC) provides the government with the ability to request rapid reallocation of project funds to respond effectively and quickly to any eligible emergency or crisis, the international financial institution said. .