Minister: Morocco’s 2019-2020 Agriculture Season Was ‘Successful’

Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch. Photo credit: MAP

Morocco’s 2019-2020 agricultural season was “a success,” despite challenges such as drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch announced.

Moroccan markets in all regions currently have a sufficient supply of agricultural products, especially spring and summer crops, Akhannouch said.

The minister made the statement on Monday before the House of Representatives in response to a question about the impact of COVID-19 on Morocco’s agriculture.

Akhannouch said the Ministry of Agriculture’s crop rotation program optimizes the yield of Moroccan farms by adapting cultivated fruits and vegetables to the various seasons.

The state-sponsored rotation program significantly exceeded its objectives and covered 91,000 hectares this year. The surface represents 114% of the initially-planned 80,000 hectares.

The crops that far exceeded objectives were potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. The ministry’s program supported potato crops on an overall surface that represents 312% of the initially-planned area.

Regarding the cultivation of summer vegetables, Akhannouch announced that the ministry developed a seed distribution program over an area of 20,800 hectares. About 60% of the surface is devoted to potatoes, 20% to tomatoes, and 20% for other summer vegetables.

The summer agricultural program has so far reached 82% of its productivity target. The production is sufficient to cover Moroccans’ consumption needs from October to December.

Morocco’s agricultural strategy

In a broader scope, Akhannouch presented Morocco’s agricultural strategy over the past 10 years.

During the past decade, Morocco restructured its agriculture sector on “solid foundations,” especially in terms of planning and management, the minister said.

The restructuring aimed to make agriculture a major contributor to economic growth in Morocco and to improve the revenue of farmers.

Akhannouch recalled the launch of an agricultural incentive system aimed at encouraging farmers to make investments in their farms.

More than 60% of the system’s beneficiaries were small farmers with less than five hectares of agricultural land, he said.

The official announced that the system allowed the achievement of over 2,500 agricultural development projects with investments reaching MAD 14.5 billion ($1.58 billion). The investment projects benefited more than 733,000 farmers and resulted in the development of 19,000 production and marketing chains.

Morocco has also invested MAD 12 billion ($1.3 billion) over the past decade to develop the food industry. The country’s investments allowed the establishment of 371 production units, the creation of 38,000 jobs, and the generation of MAD 13 billion ($1.41) of annual added value.

“These achievements have allowed the modernization of the [agriculture] sector and the increase of its productivity, which has helped to ensure self-sufficiency in many food products,” Akhannouch said.

This year’s exceptional circumstances have proved that Morocco’s agriculture plays a fundamental role in supplying local markets, he added.