Morocco is suffering from its worst drought in almost 40 years – with farmers baring the brunt of the shortage.
Climate change, made worse by poor water management, is being blamed for the lack of supplies.
Water levels have dropped to such an extent that even supplies to the big cities are becoming strained.
With little rain having fallen on the north African country since September, reservoirs have taken in just 11 per cent of what they would expect in an average year.
Agriculture produces some 14 per cent of Morocco’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more people that any other sector in the state.
Last month the Moroccan government unveiled a package worth one billion Euros in a bid to ease the crisis within farming caused by the water shortage.
Measures are also being taken to mitigate the risks, according to Abdelaziz Zerouali, head of research and planning at the water ministry.
Describing the drought as a “worrying sign” of things to come, he said: “We need to change our vision of water.”
Mr Zerouali told a conference on the right to water: “Climate change is real and we will have to face it.”
In the 1960s Moroccans had enough water to supply 2,600 cubic metres per person per year.
Today, that figure has dropped to just 600 cubic metres of water, with the over-exploitation of
groundwater for farming, part-
icularly irrigation, one of the major factors – said to account for some 80 per cent of Morocco’s water annually.
A number of major cities have taken to supplementing their supplies from ground water while the government is investing heavily in desalination plants along its Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts as it prepares for a drier future.
Morocco, meanwhile, has donated 24,000 bags of fertiliser to Jamaica.
Said to be worth $122 million, the Jamaican Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, said it was an indication of the strong bilateral relationship between the countries.
The minister said the gift could not have come at a better time as the country faced the challenges thrown up by the Covid pandemic and the global rise in the prices for agricultural inputs.
Mr Charles said the fertiliser formed “part of a larger or more substantive technical assistance programme that will examine Jamaica’s soil fertility to address some of the underlying issues within the farming sector”.
“The fertiliser donation will
be managed by the Rural Agricultural Development Auth-ority (RADA) and the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS),” he said.
“This donation is very timely and will go a long way in assisting our farmers.”
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