Saline farming assessment mission Morocco

Location:

Morocco

Partners:

The Salt Doctors (lead), Acacia Water, commissioned by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Dutch Embassy in Morocco

Duration:

6 months, 2021-2022

Project description:

The focus of the mission was to identify salt affected farms that are suitable for future demonstration activities and identify local partners who are willing to be part of future activities to help Moroccan farmers to become more resilient to increasing salinity levels under (fresh)water scarce conditions. A team of Dutch experts from the Dutch companies The Salt Doctors and Acacia Water have visited Morocco in May 2022 to work on the objectives, together with Mr. Niek Schelling (Agricultural counselor for Morocco and Senegal) and Mr. Mohamed Amine Moustanjidi (senior agricultural policy adviser) of the Dutch Embassy.

 

The project has three objectives that were defined before the visit took place:

  1. Suitable locations and salinity affected farms will be identified to execute pilots for saline farming research and development of appropriate farming measures. 

  2. Local partners will be identified in a participative team for preparation and execution of the salinity pilots, including local farmers, IAV, INRA, DRA, UM6P, FAO and Dutch partners, all with their specific roles. 

  3. The team will perform on-location salinity assessments and focus on various aspects related to water and technical infrastructure, as well as a first needs assessment from institutes and farmers. 

 

To reach the objectives, several locations (Errachidia, Erfoud, Ben Guerir and Agadir) were visited and meetings took place with various stakeholders. At the visited locations, samples of soil and water were collected and analyzed, and these results are also provided in this report. Also, several literature sources were used to determine hydrogeology and environmental aspects of the visited locations.

 

Results:

The report includes many results of the salinity assessments, the stakeholder meetings, the hydrogeology, and the technical infrastructure, among others, in order to identify potential locations to conduct pilots. Most of the visited locations were highly salt-affected, which limits the options regarding the use of a wide number of crops. The agricultural production and water management in all four areas face increasing number of challenges with regard lowering water quality (mainly salinity) and overexploitation of the remaining ground and surface water.  The best locations for a pilot have been identified, based on the current available infrastructure, the observed salinity levels, the potential of using the pilot for potential upscaling and the water availability. Also, several leads for follow-up activities have been formulated.