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Impact of climate change on Moroccan agriculture
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Impact of climate change on Moroccan agriculture


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  • 1. Introduction Materials and Methods Results and Discussion Conclusion Recommendations Plan
  • 2. Introduction UAA is dominated by cereals ((68% of the utilized agricultural area (RGA, 1998)), whose performance is highly correlated to the amount and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Agriculture is a key sector of the Moroccan economy. It occupies 40% of the workforce and accounts for 15 to 20% of GDP, depending on the total amount of rain during the growing season. However, this agriculture is mainly rainfed (83% of Useful Agricultural Area (UAA) against 17% for irrigated land) . Agricultural production therefore knows significant annual fluctuations primarily related to weather conditions and erratic rainfall.
  • 3. General characteristics of the climate in Morocco This climate is characterized by strong contrasts related to geographical and ecological features of the country: The country is dominated by arid to semi-arid climate, and is subject to a climate resulting from maritime influences in the North (Mediterranean sea) and West (Atlantic Ocean) and Sahara desert from the South. Due to its geographical location in arid to semi-arid, Morocco has for millennia been strongly linked to regional climate variability and change.
  • 4. General characteristics of the climate of Morocco (Cont.) This climate is characterized mainly by: An inter-annual variability of rainfall with lower rainfall in the Southern part, a small number of days of very limited rainfall (less than 50 days over a large part of the territory) and episodes of periodic and frequent droughts. Annual average temperatures are exceeding 20°C in the South and milder along the coast.
  • 5. General characteristics of the climate of Morocco (Cont.) Since 1973, which coincided with the great drought of the Sahel, the Maghreb in general and Morocco in particular, experienced abrupt climate change (Tabet, 2008): Greater occurrence of drought: a year out of three An intense floods: 1995- 2000-2002-2006- 2008; these years have been catastrophic for the country with significant human and material damages An increasing number of heat waves in all seasons A rise in sea level (3-4 times faster than the global average).
  • 6. Increased risk of drought This drought has been especially felt in the 80s (1981, 1983 and 1987) and it persists in the 1990s (1992, 1993, 1995, 1999) and in the first decade of the third millennium (2000, 2002, 2005 and 2007). According to Stockton (1993), droughts which occurred during this century in Morocco are not just a shortage of rain water. This is an extended phenomenon over several years which combine a shortage of rainfall and increased evaporation of soil moisture as the result of high temperature.
  • 7. Climate projections for Morocco Continuation and acceleration of the increase in annual average temperatures by 0.6°C by 2015, from 2.1 to 2.9°C (2045), 3.2°C to 4.1°C (2075); Disruption of seasonal rainfall (winter rainfall concentrated in a short period), reduced duration of snow cover and withdrawal of the snowpack. Increased frequency and intensity of heat waves (Chergui, etc...); Increased salinization of groundwater and soil. Decreased rainfall by 6% (2015), 13% (2045), and 19% (2075);
  • 8. Impact on the crops’ growth period in Morocco The analysis of the evolution of the length of the growth period between 1960 and 2000 in the region of Khouribga, shows a net reduction (Benaouda and Balaghi, 2009). The length of the growth period decreased from 180 to 110 days in some parts of Morocco. This change is felt by farmers who are growing more cereals with shorter growth cycle, such as barley, which adapts to the new environment (Benaouda and Balaghi, 2009).
  • 9. 1b. Length of the growing period in Khouribga in the 2000s (Source: (Benaouda and Balaghi, 2009) Fig 1a. Length of the growing period in Khouribga in 1960 (Source: (Benaouda and Balaghi, 2009) Impact on the crops’ growth period in Morocco
  • 10. The impact reduced by technological progress The study of the improvement in crop yields in the context of climate change, while taking account of technological progress by INRA, Settat, shows that negative impacts are lower. The technology package includes the genetic improvement of crops, use of fertilizers and pesticides, tillage techniques, etc.. This difference between the performance with and without technological progress indicates the possibility for drought mitigation.
  • 11. Materials and Methods To fully meet the objectives of the study and identify Drought Mitigation Strategies and adopted by Farmers, surveys were conducted at agricultural farms using a participatory approach.
  • 12. Selection of the study area  Aiming the integration of climate change in the implementing the Green Morocco Plan (PMV), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries ranked the 16 administrative regions of Morocco according to how important would be the impact of climate change (see Table 1).  The classification was made according to two criteria: the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change and agricultural potential.  The vulnerability of regions to climate change is expressed by the relative reduction in the ability of land for agriculture in 2050 compared to the current period.  The agricultural potential of the regions is expressed in Morocco by the total annual rainfall because it is directly related to crop productivity.  The classification of administrative regions is thus based on the product of these two criteria; the targeted areas are those whose products of both criteria are highest. The classification of regions, in order of priority listed in the table below.
  • 13. Administrative Region Vulnerability to CC% Agricultural potential (mm) Ranking Chaouia - Ouardigha 80 422 1 Grand Casablanca 79 408 2 Rabat - Salé - Zemmour - Zaër 37 524 3 Tadla – Azilal 33 523 4 Doukkala – Abda 51 334 5 The five most vulnerable administrative regions Sorted according to the twin criteria of vulnerability to climate change (CC) and agricultural potential
  • 14. How the studied region was selected? We have therefore chosen the region of Chaouia - Ouardigha because it is the most vulnerable. Within this region, we have chosen the Province of Benslimane which is divided into two circles (Benslimane and Bouznika) and the Benslimane circle which is itself divided into three Caïdats among which we selected the Caïdat of Fdalate. The study area is very wide; therefore we limited the survey area to cereal production basin, represented by the two rural municipalities Fdalate and Moualine EL Oued.
  • 15. Selection of the crop The vulnerability of sectors is measured by the relative reduction in the productivity of sectors in 2050 compared to the current period. The priority sectors are those whose vulnerability and acreages are the most important. The relative importance of the sector in terms of area was included in the analysis as an adaptive technology to climate change will have more impact on agricultural productivity in field crops for crops with limited acreages. Table 2 shows that in the region of Chaouia-Ouardigha, cereals are the most vulnerable to Climate Change. Therefore, our choice for this study focused on soft wheat.
  • 16. 1 2 3 4 5 Chaouia- Ouardigha Rabat - Salé – Zemmour - Zaër Tadla - Azilal Doukkala - Abda Gharb - Chrarda - Beni Hssen 1 Barley Durum wheat Barley Barley Soft wheat 2 Soft wheat Barley Soft wheat Durum wheat Durum wheat 3 Durum wheat Durum wheat Durum wheat Soft wheat Barley 4 Maize Oat Olive Maize Sunflower 5 Faba beans Maize Almond Faba beans Faba beans 6 Lentils Lentils Faba beans Olive Chickpea 7 Olive Olive Maize Oat Olive 8 Oat Faba beans Lentils Chickpea Maize 9 Chickpea Sunflower Vetch Lentils Lentils (Source, MAPM, February 2011) The most vulnerable crops within five regions
  • 17. Sampling of surveyed farmers The surveyed population corresponds to farmers of the Benslimane Province practicing cereal production. Three categories of farms practicing the main crop were selected: (i) “Large" farms, that is to say those of farm size larger than 20 ha, (ii) Farms with the average size comprised between 5 and 20 ha, and (iii) “Small" farms whose size is less than or equal to 5 ha. Figure 2. Benslimane Procince
  • 18. Sampling of surveyed farmers  This typology permitted to take into account all the different types of farms in the data collection.  This work was conducted with a group of resource persons with a thorough knowledge of each of the municipalities studied, namely the Engineers of the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture (DPA) and the Benslimane Technician Works Center (CT). Figure 3. Chaouia-Ouardigha region.
  • 19. Data collection During the investigation, the information collected were: • Inventory of farm equipments, • Soft Wheat varieties used, • Crop planting dates, • Rotations performed, • Different diseases observed, • Yield evolution with time, • All inputs from soil preparation to harvest. All the information was gathered by trying to go back in time as much as possible. Farmers interviewed were also asked to give their opinion on changes in agricultural calendars and dates and how their practices changed as the result of climate change.
  • 20. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Figure 4. The main crops practiced by the interviewed farmers.
  • 21. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Soft wheat is the main crop. It is grown by most farmers surveyed, which corresponds to 89% of the study sample. It occupies 70% of the total cultivated area. The practice of tilled fallow is also present in 45% of surveyed farms.
  • 22. Crop rotations practiced It appears from this study that the main previous crop for wheat is tilled fallow. 41% of farmers practice this crop rotation. In second place are placed food legumes (chickpeas, beans, faba beans and lentils). 32% of farmers practice food legumes. These precedents are justified primarily by the early release of fields for the execution of tillage and installation of cereal crops in order to maintain soil fertility as legumes leave a nitrogen-rich soil.
  • 23. Crop rotations practiced Figure 5. Crop rotations practiced.
  • 24. Crop rotations practiced (Cont.)  Although farmers prefer to cultivate legumes in rotation with cereals. According to surveyed farmers, it all depends on the total rainfall.  They argue that the decrease in rainfall in recent years constrained them to practice the tilled fallow instead.  Monoculture of cereal - cereal is also present, but in small proportion (14 %), as it isn’t advised to grow wheat after another cereal (wheat, barley, oats), and that monoculture always leads to yield losses.
  • 25. Impact of Climate Change on Farmers’s Practices  Farmers surveyed say there is a change in rotation: while in the past years they practiced monoculture (cereal on cereal) because rain was abundant, now they are forced to consider growing cereals in rotation with tilled fallow.  The rotation cereal - tilled fallow permits better management of time, water conservation for the next growing season and facilitation of soil tillage and sowing of the cereal crop.  It has been shown in Morocco and other countries of the importance of fallow in crop rotations because it allows water and soil conservation and higher yields of the following crops (Mazhar, 1987 Amir et al., 1988. Greb et al., 1979. Greb, 1983; Dalrymple et al, 1988 cited by Aboudrare, 1990: Bouzza 1990).
  • 26. Impact of Climate Change on Sowing date The arrival of the first rain reassures farmers, allows the emergence of weeds that are eliminated during seedbed preparation. The first rain makes tillage easier especially where tractors with low horsepower are used. During our investigation we were able to identify three planting periods (Figure ...).
  • 27. Impact of Climate Change on Sowing date (Cont.) Figure 6. Sowing dates practiced by the interviewed farmers.
  • 28. Impact of Climate Change on Sowing date Producers interviewed both individually and in group evoked climate disruption. According to farmers, for many years the agricultural calendar was properly respected in the region. But with climate change observed in recent years, this timetable, including planting times became difficult task for farmers. To adapt to these climate changes, they adopted early sowing (October). In Benslimane region, the seeding is often made ​​after the first autumn rains which usually occur in late October.
  • 29.  The majority of farmers sow wheat in mid-November (44% of the sample) (see Figure 6).  25% of farmers sow wheat between late October and early November for early sowing and 31% of farmers sow wheat from late November to early December.  Almost all farmers are aware that early sowing (before November 15) is better but this practice is not often observed because farmers do not have sufficient traction capacity to plough soil in dry conditions. Impact of Climate Change on Sowing date (Cont.)
  • 30. Impact of Climate Change on Sowing Date (Cont.)  Seeding during the period from October 20 to late November recorded much higher yields than those obtained for late sowing. Yield gain is between 10 and 60% for wheat.  Planting wheat beyond November 15 is accompanied by a yield loss.  Early sowing before the first rain are most recommended because they allow wheat to valorise the rainy season and avoid water stress and high temperature at end of the growth cycle and thus increase the yields.  Low cereal production is mainly due to the combined effects of drought and attacks by Hessian fly named Midge. Droughts promote the proliferation of midge populations and highlight its attacks. During dry periods, the late-planted fields are heavily attacked by the midge (INRA, Settat).  Early sowing helps to escape the second generation of the Hessian fly (midge).
  • 31. Varieties Frequency (%) Achtar 37 Salama 35 Mahdia 15 Rihane 7 Radia 6 • Another noticed change in cultural practices is the adoption of new crop varieties. Farmers change almost annually the cultivated varieties. • Local varieties have completely disappeared. The reasons given for their disappearance are long growth cycles, and low yields. • The reasons for the introduction of the new varieties are among others: the short growing cycle, the relatively high yield and resistance to diseases. • It is mentioned by 60% of respondents who consult the National Catalogue of wheat varieties to select those which present short growth cycle, resistant to diseases and drought, and are therefore adapted to climate change. • Few farmers are importing new varieties from abroad. Soft wheat varieties practiced
  • 32. Soft wheat varieties practiced (Cont.) The gain in yield compared to old varieties is comprised between 10 and 50%. The gain is greater in relatively dry years (INRA, 2009). These varieties resistant to pests and drought allow not only increased productivity, but savings in pesticides with positive effects on the environment and quality of crops. We should mention that smallholders have difficulty adapting to climate disruption.
  • 33. Disruption of traditional agricultural calendar  Different climate risks highlighted introduced in farming a situation of uncertainty that affects any decision to conduct a farming operation (seeding, fertilization, and herbicide and fungicide application).  In fact, for more than 65% of the surveyed farmers, agricultural seasons become very unstable.  They claim the increasing difficulty to select the proper planting dates and are fully aware that wheat seedlings are at risk after emergence.  Consequently, execution of other agricultural operations become random. This affects the production at the end of the season.
  • 34. Decrease & Fluctuation of Wheat Yields  All the farmers in our sample are unanimous on the yield reduction during the last 30 years.  Indeed, the growth and development environment and plant are severely disrupted in recent years and no longer promote good yields.  However, the climate is not the only factor determining the performance; other determinants of performance (soil fertility, seed quality, pests and diseases ...) also participate strongly to the perceived decline in yields.  This is probably due to the random nature of rainfall; which constitutes the main limiting factor for the application of appropriate management techniques that could improve cereal yields.  In addition farmers cannot afford to use certified seeds or apply fertilizers because of their high costs.
  • 35. CONCLUSION  This study is a contribution to the knowledge of perceptions of climate change experienced by farmers and adaptation strategies in response to these changes.  The results converge to say that the impact of climate change on agriculture and in particular on the production of cereals, will be considerable if no action is taken to reduce their vulnerability to these variations.  To assess the level of adaptation to these changes, we were interested in two municipalities in the Benslimane region.  Farmers from the municipalities of Fdalate and Moualine El Oued, face enormous difficulties in the exercise of their farming activities. Among these are the problems caused by climate change.
  • 36. CONCLUSION (Cont.)  The results of surveys of agricultural producers in the study area show that the delay in the onset of rains, the episodes of drought during the rainy season, the poor spatial distribution of rainfall, the decrease of rainfall, violent winds, and excessive heat, represent major risks that characterize the climate of recent years.  These climatic changes are not without consequences on agriculture, particularly on crop production.  On the latter, the consequences are reflected in particular by the upheaval of traditional farming calendar especially periods of sowing, loss of crops at different growth stages, and yield reductions.
  • 37. CONCLUSION (Cont.)  To reduce the impact of climate change, farmers develop and adopt coping strategies among which we can mention: o Changing planting times; o The gradual adoption of short cycle varieties resistant to drought and disease; o The Changing of crop sequences (rotation); o Integration on the same farm of crop production and livestock.  These climatic changes are not without consequences on agriculture, particularly on crop production.  On the latter, the consequences are reflected in particular by the upheaval of traditional farming especially periods of sowing schedules, destruction of crops at different growth stages, and yield loss.
  • 38. Recommendations Encourage farmers to replace old varieties with newly created ones Diversifying crops and crop rotations through the introduction of new species Optimize planting dates, and mineral fertilization Involve technologies allowing early sowing To provide supplementary irrigation to cope with droughts at the middle and at the end of the growth cycle Maintain a portion of crop residues on the field to improve the infiltration of rainwater and reduce evaporation losses and reduce erosion and increase soil organic matter in the soil. Faced with the impact of climate change, according to long term projections for 2030 and 2050, it is urgent to: