Program Oasis of South Guelmim-Assa-Tata (POS - Programme Oasis du Sud Guelmim-Assa-Tata)
If the oases were considered for a long time as havens of peace and prosperity, they still face challenges which risk in the long term upset the balances that so many centuries have shaped. Agricultural practices in the oasis sector not only have a technical dimension, but above all derive from a historical process of development in a particular social environment.
Indeed, the techniques currently used in oasis environments are the fruit of centuries of experience. The foreign observer is surprised to note the sustainable existence of food crops even in the neighboring palm groves despite unfavorable rainfall (month of 50 mm of rain).
For oasis farmers, local seeds are "superior" to selected ones, because they are the result of natural selection over several decades, which gives them the necessary resistance to water stress and to dominant diseases and pests. The date palm, a structuring element of oases, is one of the oldest fruit species in Morocco. It made the glory of ancient cities, such as Sijilmassa which was the platform of international trade between Mediterranean Africa and the countries on the other side of the great Sahara. Currently, this sector covers an area of about 44,000 ha, or about 4.4 million palm trees. This national heritage is located in the oases located to the south of the High Atlas mountain range and its foothills, in particular, Ouarzazate, Tafilalet and Tata. The date constitutes, without question, the main production of Moroccan oases. Normal season production is estimated at 100,000 tonnes, placing Morocco 8th in the world for date production when it occupied 3rd place over a century ago. In addition to the decrease in numbers due to Bayoud and drought, the productivity of our palm tree is low (around 0kg / plant) compared to neighboring countries (Algeria and Tunisia). About 40% of the production is consumed for self-consumption while 30% is marketed. The rest is intended for livestock feed (20%), or wasted.
The exported tonnage constitutes only 1% of the total production. Constraints and Assets Oases suffer from the weight of a number of constraints.
These constraints are (i) natural: frequent droughts, floods, silting up, Bayoud disease, locust invasions, exodus of young people, etc. However, the oases conceal assets whose intelligent use will contribute to a sustainable development of the terroirs: the exclusivity of the presence of productions inherent to the specific ecological conditions of the oases (dates, truffles, the D'man sheep breed and the The isolation of the terroirs qualifies them more than other ecological entities to a soft conversion towards new healthy and remunerative production concepts (organic production). the process of new concepts (organic cultivation, product labeling, etc.) will have a definite impact on the future of the oases.
The degree of control of the phenomenon of desertification and particularly the silting up of socio-economic infrastructures will be decisive in the development of the productive sectors of the oases. The oases, complex and fragile environments have known, in recent decades, many disturbances: drought, Bayoud, migrations, to the point of legitimately asking whether the oases have a future ". The advent of sustainable development in the oases will contribute to the protection and enhancement of the environment and the quality of life. The future of oases is organically linked to the ability to innovate, anticipate and take initiatives. To master this future, carrying out prospective studies and building the capacity of oasis residents are essential. They will contribute to the transformation of local actors from local actors from the role of development "funders" to that of development "makers" and to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise in the future.