Morocco, similar to other Arab countries, face Insufficient water supply for irrigation and seeks for shifting irrigation management towards maximizing the crop production per unit of water consumed, i.e the water productivity. To cope with scarce water supply, in 2011-2016, the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) implemented deficit irrigation practices in different regions in Morocco.
The main long-term development goals of the project are to achieve sustainable and profitable agricultural production in the dry areas of West Asia North Africa (WANA) based upon the efficient and sustainable management of the scarce water resources. The main objective of deficit irrigation is to increase the water-use efficiency (WUE) of a crop by eliminating irrigations that have little impact on yield. The resulting yield reduction may be small compared with the benefits gained through diverting the saved water to irrigate other crops for which water would normally be insufficient under traditional irrigation practices.
The project approach is based on five principles – participation, integration, complementarities, multidisciplinary and multi-institutions, and socioeconomic analysis.
The project developed and tested, with community participation, water management options that increase water productivity and optimize water use, and which are economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally sound.
In the benchmark site of Morocco, studies of the response of wheat, maize, and pepper to different levels of supplemental irrigation were conducted and the information helped evaluate the tradeoff between yield and water productivity and also serve the water allocation modeling purpose. A positive response to the increase of water level was observed.
- Nitrogen and water regimes had significant effects on both total biomass and grain yield;
- Improvement of the crop yield (cereal);
- Reduction of 30% of water use in cereal irrigation;
- Increase of farmers’ income and enhanced food security;
- Deficit irrigation system could be out scaled up in different dryland areas and replicated in other regions with similar conditions.
Partners: Regional Offices of Agricultural Development, National Agricultural Research Office, Regional Agricultural Directorate, International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Zones
Budget: Around 2000 USD/ha
Av.la victoire Rabat Morocco
Dr Rachid Moussadek, Head of Environment and Natural Resources Department