Irrigation Development and Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PDIA-CC)
Environment & Natural Resources
Located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in South-East Morocco, the Plaine de Boudnib is a territory characterized by high aridity where, traditionally, the only possible agriculture is that which is confined in the oases near the wadis. This confinement, the degradation of irrigation infrastructure and villages (especially by the floods of the wadi) and fragmentation land by inheritance make these oases areas of abandonment, sheltering a vulnerable population and candidate for emigration.
This region is also one of the most heavily affected by the global climate change: increasing aridity and increasing demand for plant water; more hazards and extremes in climatic events. Despite this difficult context, a new economic dynamic has crossed the region since a few years, supported by the State under pillar of the national strategy "Plan Green Morocco ”. It is characterized by the development of large-scale farms outside oasis zones, drawing water from the deep water table and aiming to produce intensively a high-quality date (Madjhoul variety) intended for the high-end domestic market range and for export. These large areas should generate between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs in the zone and produce up to 40,000 tonnes of Madjhoul dates per year, which would ultimately place the Morocco among the very first world producers of dates, with a significant penetration on the Madjhoul date market, the best paid.
The opportunities presented by this dynamic will not, however, materialize in the long term. without
(i) guaranteeing a territorial balance and promoting inclusive economic momentum, by particularly for the oasis population and
(ii) good management of water resources to avoid its overexploitation. The Kaddoussa dam, under construction, located upstream and interrupting the Guir wadi, will help mobilize surface water resources for agriculture.
The present project, located downstream of this dam, will put in place the irrigation infrastructure and regulatory mechanisms guaranteeing sustainability (inclusion and sustainable management of the resource in water) of the economic development process underway in the area.
The purpose of the project is to improve resilience to climate change and the sustainability of the agricultural development in the Boudnib Plain, by:
(i) Promotion of the development of productive and sustainable irrigated agriculture;
(ii) Improving the resilience of oasis agriculture in the face of changes climatic;
(iii) Contribution to the preservation of groundwater resources.
To achieve these objectives, the project is structured according to the following components:
(i) Hydraulic infrastructure securing agriculture downstream of the dam;
(ii) Boosting the oasis economy and adaptation to climate change;
(iii) Cross-cutting support measures for sustainability.
The project will also address issues of gender inequality in oases through a
holistic approach to social development, aimed at improving living conditions (access to
services), coexistence between women, men and young people within the oases (collective activities)
and access to decent paid employment on large farms.