International Symposium on
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Drought Mitigation in Morocco:
Setting an Indicator for an Early Drought Warning

Ali Chafai Elalaoui

Department of Agronomy, National School of Agriculture, Meknes, Morocco


During the last 25 years, Morocco has experienced more frequent and more severe droughts than even before. The Moroccan Economy is mainly based on Agriculture, especially crop production. 85% of crops are rain fed. Two-third of the agricultural surfaces are sown to cereals (soft wheat, durum wheat and barley), with low and very variable yields. This high variability of yields is mainly due to that of the rainfall.

In order to alleviate the adverse effects of drought on agriculture, we have developed an Indicator for an Early Drought Warning, based on the prediction of the three cereals yields at any time of the growing season for a given Province. The yield prediction of each cereal species is based on a mathematical model for which the variables are represented by the rainfall during the growing season. For every Province, the predicted yield is used to determine the drought severity. Thus we can issue an early drought warning when the predicted yield falls in the moderate or severe drought classes. This Early Drought Warning is to be used by farmers and decision makers to take the appropriate measures in order to reduce the drought impact on crops, on peoples whose main income comes from agriculture, and on the national economy.