Agriculture: the World Bank is helping to combat water shortages

To cope with the increasing pressures of climate change, persistent droughts, threat of water scarcity and population growth in the country’s water and land resources, the loan allocated to the Project for Resilient Water Management and Sustainability in Agriculture ( RESWAG) aims to strengthen the management of water resources in the agricultural sector, improve the quality of irrigation services and expand farmers’ access to technical advice in this area.

The World Bank’s Board of Directors, on Friday March 25, 2022, approved the funding of an investment project amounting to $ 180 million to support stable and sustainable agriculture in Morocco. Faced with the increasing pressure of climate change and population growth on the country’s water and land resources, the Project for Resilient and Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture (RESWAG) aims to strengthen the management of water resources in the agricultural sector, improve the quality of irrigation services and expand farmers’ access to technical advice in this area.

The opportunity for Jesko Hentschel, Director of World Bank Operations for the Maghreb and Malta, to emphasize that “agriculture is an important engine for the economic and social development of the Moroccan population. The sector constitutes 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 funding of this project supports this important sector, in line with the “Green Generation” strategy, the National Water Plan and the New development model. which the country is chasing “.

RESWAG, an innovative and original program…

RESWAG is structured into three parts. The first aims to improve the water governance framework and guarantee sustainable withdrawal in the agricultural sector. “The first phase of the RESWAG project aims to complement Morocco’s long -standing investment in water management.

It covers three priority strategic areas in terms of water conservation: making the process of allocating water resources more flexible, optimizing the management of aquifers and better understanding the impacts of program to improve water productivity, to refine and restructure policies with a view to taking into account climate issues “, explains Rémi Trier, senior specialist in water resources management and co-head of project.

The second phase aims to provide climate-wise irrigation and drainage services, by deploying water-conservation techniques to new surfaces. This approach will promote drought resilience, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and storing carbon in soils.

This includes modernizing hydraulic equipment (irrigation networks, canals, etc.) and providing public managers responsible for irrigation with ways to optimize irrigation and drainage services. The beneficiaries are small farmers with large managed irrigation systems, the goal of which is to reach approximately 16,000 farmers on over 50,000 hectares, in Souss-Massa and Tadla, two of the country’s most important watersheds for agroeconomics.

… To cope with water shortages

The third phase plans to provide 23,500 farmers with advisory services aimed at optimizing investments, building climate stability and increasing water productivity. “The project plans to support the national agency that manages agricultural counseling services to expand farmers’ access to counseling services adapted to climate issues.

The aim is to increase the scope and quality of these services in irrigation areas, especially through the training of public consultants and hiring consultants, which will facilitate the transition of farmers to modern irrigation techniques, specified Safaa Bahije, water resources specialist and co-leader of the project.

The project will also give particular attention to women and young farmers, in order to fully support the Generation Green strategy implemented by the authorities ”. A Conditional Emergency Response Component (CERC) further gives the government the ability to request a rapid re-allocation of project funds to effectively and promptly respond to any eligible emergency or crisis.

Aziz Diouf / ECO Inspirations

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