Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Morocco Expects Fine 2009 Harvest

It must be remembered that Morocco's economy is highly dependent on agriculture.
Here is a recent article that appeared on Middle East Online about this years harvest. It seems as if all of that heavy rain has brought a great benefit.


Morocco expects fine 2009 harvest

Agriculture Minister vows to speed up implementation of ambitious Green Morocco Plan launched in 2008.

RABAT - Good rains will produce a bumper cereal crop in Morocco this year, with an expected 102 million quintals (10.2 million metric tons) due to be harvested, Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhenouch said Tuesday.

"The 2009 harvest will be abundant, even excellent," Akhenouch said at the opening of the north African country's second agricultural congress in the central town of Meknes. "This is very good news all Moroccans have been waiting for."

Akhenouch also vowed to speed up implementation of an ambitious farm plan the government launched in 2008, investing some 12 billion dirhams (about one billion euros / 1.4 billion dollars) in the first year.

Investments in the scheme, known as the Green Morocco Plan, have targeted animal breeding along with cereal, fruit and olive production.

In the future, the country is counting on receiving 10 billion dirhams yearly in national and foreign investments in agricultural production to assure food security for all, King Mohammed VI said in a message to participants.

"The Green Plan is aimed at eradicating poverty in the rural world," Ahmed Hajjaji, head of the Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA), said on the sidelines of the congress.

Poverty remains a key issue in Morocco, where police clashed with demonstrators protesting high food prices in 2007. Members of the Moroccan Human Rights Association were detained when they organised the rallies.

The Green Plan aims to almost triple Morocco's gross domestic income from agriculture to 100 billion dirhams (nine billion euros) a year by 2020, compared to the current 38 billion dirhams.

It allows for regions to specialise their production depending on their soil and climate, with cereals and citrus fruit in the verdant north, red meat in central Morocco, olives in the south and goat and camel's cheese in the Sahara.

The ADA is responsible for implementing the Green Plan, under which Morocco has been divided into 16 agricultural sectors, with 1,500 priority projects identified.

Attended by Moroccan farmers and members of the food industry, the conference came on the eve of an international agriculture fair, also in Meknes.

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