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Morocco’s Watermelon Production to Increase Despite Water Crisis

The volume of Morocco’s watermelon production is set to increase despite the challenges the country faces to tackle the ongoing water crisis and drought.

Agriculture-focused website FreshPlaza quoted several professionals who expect the volume of watermelon to be “huge” when other regions finish their harvest.

“It is expected that volumes will become huge very soon when other regions will have finished their harvest. This is particularly the case of the regions of Loukous and Gherb which have experienced a peak in production this year,” one of the watermelon professionals said.

The report also shed light on the growing concerns stemming from the water crisis, stressing that many blame the watermelon sector as a direct challenge amid drought.

“The watermelon sector is being singled out and blamed by public opinion,” a situation that triggered a government response limiting watermelon production.

This made the “question of volumes” embarrassing for producers, including in the Zagora region –  where the local government reduced the cultivated area to 1.5 hectares per producer.

“The market situation is quite different with abundant volumes and insufficient demand,” said one of the local producers.

Watermelon is one of the water-thirsty crops, contributing to the water crisis Morocco has experienced over the past months. Watermelon plants need 1-2 inches of water per week, yet Morocco continues to be one of the major producers and exporters of watermelons.

Exporters are already racing to secure watermelon harvest from Morocco amid uncertain estimates about the watermelon volumes this year, according to another FreshPlaza report.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan government continues to pledge support for all efforts seeking to address the water crisis. In addition to pledges to limit water-thirsty crops, the government recently received instructions from King Mohammed VI to invest $14.3 billion additional budget to address the water crisis.

A recent report from the World Bank identified several challenges behind water stress challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, including in Morocco.

The report pointed out farmers’ responsibility in the issue of water challenges in Morocco, acknowledging that they “regularly disregard” public regulations on water management.

“Because they do not believe the state should restrict their use of water, and they believe none of their neighbors in the community are following the rules,” the report stressed.

Source: Morocco World News