The World Bank Board of Executive directors approved a US$180 million IPF (Investment Project Financing) loan to support resilient and sustainable agriculture in Morocco. Climate change and population growth is putting increased pressure on water and land resources in Morocco. The Resilient and Sustainable Water in Agriculture (RESWAG) project aims to enhance the governance of water in agriculture, improve the quality of irrigation services, and increase access to advisory services for irrigation technologies.
As currently witnessed during this year’s historic drought, water scarcity is a major threat to Morocco. The country is experiencing less rainfall and more extreme weather events like droughts and heat waves, resulting in reduced river flows, and increased evaporation. Population growth, increased irrigation for crops, and development have also caused a decline in renewable water resources. Water shortages are leading to a vicious cycle of overexploitation of groundwater. Hotter and drier conditions are only expected to increase irrigation needs for crops, further stressing already limited water resources.
"The agri-food sector is a major driver of economic and social development for Moroccan citizens. It amounts to 21 percent of the GDP and accounts for nearly 39 percent of employment, even more so in rural areas. Agriculture is at the heart of Morocco’s economic and social ambitions and this project financing will support this vital sector, in alignment with the country’s Green Generation strategy, the National Water Plan, and the New Development Model," said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta.
The RESWAG project is an innovative new program, combining for the first time both hard investments through the modernization of irrigation and drainage services and soft measures that support water governance and provide agricultural advice to farmers.