Morocco king allocates $300 million in drought relief for farmers

Morocco king allocates $300 million in drought relief for farmers
The money from a fund established by former monarch Hassan II will supply farmers with wheat and livestock feed, and develop irrigation systems.
2 min read
17 February, 2022
Morocco is suffering an exceptionally dry year [Getty]

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Wednesday ordered the allocation of 3 billion dirhams ($320 million) to support the agricultural sector as a severe drought grips the country.

The monarch met Wednesday with Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and agriculture minister Mohamed Sadiki at Bouznika Palace to discuss the drought's impact, according to a palace statement on the meeting.

During the meeting, the government laid out a new, 10 billion dirham ($1.07 billion) programme to ease the struggles of Morocco's agricultural sector, including supplying farmers with wheat and livestock feed and investing in irrigation systems.

King Mohammed ordered a public fund established by former monarch Hassan II to support infrastructure projects contribute MAD three billion ($320 million) to the programme.

Morocco has this year seen less than half of the rainfall it experiences on average, bringing the country's agricultural industry to its knees.

"As a result of climate change, the average rainfall decreased [in Morocco] over time leading to water scarcity and drought waves, especially in rural areas," ecology PhD student Yassine Oualili told The New Arab.

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Farmers are expecting huge losses, especially in autumn crops and the amount of pasture available for livestock.

“I may lose tens of thousands of dirhams if the climate situation remains this way. We are small farmers. We cannot afford irrigation systems,” Ahmed, a 60-year-old Moroccan farmer in the rural Zaeir region near the capital Rabat, told The New Arab.

While waiting for the government measures, Moroccans are looking for divine intervention, holding prayers for rain at mosques across the country.