Sidi Yahya El Gharb, Morocco, Feb 15 (EFE).- Morocco is facing the worst drought in three decades due to record-low rainfall this winter, threatening the yearly grain harvest.
The delayed rainfall in the north African country is a result of the anticyclone hitting Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal and risks increasing Morocco’s reliance on imports amid a spike in food prices.
“Cereal and legume production are already doomed this year,” Abdelmoumen Guennouni, a Moroccan agronomist, tells Efe.
According to Guennouni, the lack of rainfall is a result of the climate crisis and overexploitation of aquifers resulting in reservoirs recording minimum levels of water.
The level of water across the country’s reservoirs has fallen under 33.9% compared to 62% in 2018 while the Al Massira reservoir, the second largest in the country, is at just 7% of its capacity.
“This is a structural problem,” says the minister of equipment and water, Nizar Baraka.
Abderrahim Zrouti is one of the many farmers praying for rain to fall on his 300 hectares of agricultural land.
“December and January are decisive for the wheat crop, but this year as there has been no rain there will be no production. We expect losses of 80%,” he tells Efe.
Like most of Morocco’s cultivating land, Zrouti’s farm is based on rainfed agriculture, a type of farming that heavily relies on rainfall.
The drought is also affecting livestock farmers too, who are suffering from the increased prices of fodder.
In the last year, the price of a sack of barley has doubled from 230 dirhams (21 euros) to 450 dirhams.
“I know livestock farmers who are selling their herd because they can no longer put up with the losses,” says Guennouni. EFE