Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When Will it Rain? Morocco's Drought


Morocco is in the second year of a severe drought and the impact on the economy is showing

Photo: Issam Oukhouya/Associated Press

Last year, wheat and barley production in Morocco was at its lowest level in a decade, according to World Grain, an industry magazine. The shortage was due to “inadequate rainfall during the planting season and the shortage of rain during the critical months of February and March.”

Wheat is a staple in Morocco and elsewhere in North Africa, according to the magazine. The average Moroccan consumes more than 440 pounds of wheat every year, one of the highest per capita rates in the world. The country irrigates only about 10 percent of its land, leaving it susceptible to drought.

Last year, during earlier stages of the drought, the king tried an age-old practice in a bid to save Morocco’s crops: prayer. On two Fridays in January, he led national rain prayers after normal worship ended.

But experts say the government needs agricultural solutions, not divine intervention: increased irrigation, better management of a growing population and improved purification of the water already in the country’s water pipes.

Waiting for water from a well in Zagora

Residents of many drought-stricken villages blame the shortages on the overuse of sparse resources for agriculture, especially the cultivation of watermelons and accuse the ministry of agriculture of allowing this water-intensive production "which provides profit for big farmers to the detriment of the inhabitants".

The Washington Post reports David Goeury, a geographer at Paris IV-La Sorbonne University, saying that a ban on water-intensive watermelon farming, would help. Morocco is one of the region’s top exporters of the melon.

“The problem is that watermelon demands a lot of water and requires drilling. If the water table is overexploited, its water level will drop or the quality of the water will be altered because it will come into contact with saltwater,” Goeury said.

The lack of water is having a ripple effect on the country’s gross domestic product and security. Water, the Associated Press wrote, “is becoming a threat to national stability in the kingdom, seen as a steady force in a restive region and key ally with the West in the fight against terrorism.”

Charafat Afailal, the secretary of state in charge of water, said change is needed — soon. “The issue of water has always been a priority for Morocco, but today, after two years of drought, we have to move on to higher gear,” she said.

The Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Aziz Akhannouch, said in Rabat on Monday that his department will take, during this agricultural season, several measures including ensuring a sufficient and regular supply of inputs and rationalisation of water resources.

In response to five questions related to the preparations for this agricultural season, posed by several groups in the House of Representatives, Mr. Akhannouch said that the Ministry will continue to implement the agricultural insurance program that will concern this season an area of one million hectares of agricultural land and 50,000 hectares of orchards, in addition to a series of financing measures for farmers.

According to the latest available weather forecasts, Morocco should see some showers next week. Rain is expected over three days starting on Wednesday. It remains to be seen just how much rain arrives.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kibari Brothers - New Exhibition

Mark your diary! The Kibari brothers are back with an exciting new exhibition.

(Click images to enlarge)


The exhibition will be at the Grand Casino , La Mamounia, Marrakesh from the 24th of November 2017 until the 10th of  Decdember 2017

 Find out more about Aziz Kibari - HERE

Kibari Habib visual artist painter (The Leader)
Kibari Abdel artist sculptor (The Youngest)
Kibari Aziz artist painter and sculptor (The Medium)

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Date of the Prophet's Birthday Announced


Eid Al Mawlid Annabawi, the date marking the anniversary of the birth of the prophet Mohammed, will be celebrated on Friday, December 1, 2017, according to Morocco's Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs.

The month of Rabie-I 1439 AH begins today (Monday, November 20th). Indeed, the observation of the lunar crescent of the month of Rabie-I 1439 AH was not confirmed until the evening of Saturday 29 Safar 1439 AH corresponding to November 18, 2017, said the department.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Street Photography Workshop in Fez



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Monday, November 06, 2017

The Green March - Anniversary


November 6th is an important date in Morocco. On the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI will address the nation on Monday evening. The speech will be broadcast on television and on the radio from 8:30 pm.


November 6, the day of the Green March is the anniversary of peaceful deployment in 1975 of 350,000 civilians who marched to recover the territory of Morocco's Western Sahara that had been previously occupied by Spain.


The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration coordinated by the Moroccan government. During this march 350,000 Moroccans converged on the city of Tarfaya in southern Morocco and waited for a signal from King Hassan II to cross into Western Sahara. They brandished Moroccan flags, U.S.A. flags, Saudi Arabia flags & Jordan flags; banners calling for the “return of the Moroccan Sahara.” The colour green for the march’s name was intended as a symbol of Islam. The Green March is considered an important symbol of Moroccan nationalism and liberation from colonialism.

No shots were fired, not a single drop of blood was shed and Morocco retrieved its Sahara.

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Friday, November 03, 2017

Photo Essay - The Tradesmen of Tangier

Notes from Tradesmen in Tangier - a photo essay by Mohamed Zefzaf

Here are glimpses of tradesmen in Tangier, Morocco. Though unknown, the, like millions of their counterparts around the world, make our daily life better for their skills, their dedication, and a rare and earthy appreciation for living in the present moment. Most of them spend their entire existence in splendid obscurity. They are hardly recognised, much less celebrated. In this digitally globalised world, these good people are left behind, without the salaries or rights, equal to the true value of their labor. It is among these salt of the earth folks that one finds fraternity and wisdom. The fruit of their work is not cloud-based, but can be seen, and touched. It is true, and makes a difference.

Youssef
 
I want to make people’s home what they wanted it to be. I am just here to help-that is my work.

Youssef, upholster 32, of Youssef Décor at B’ni Makada-a perfectionist, full of life, with a penchant for Briouats and ketchup, working his way slowly, steadily, and honestly.  

Ayyad

Ayyad, 54-also known as the Boss: nominally a plasterer, but really a jack-of-all-trades; a man of skills and a bon vivant.

My best reward is to see my customers happy-then, I am happy too.

Anis & Adil

 When people call us, most have tried everything themselves. So we are the last resort. We love to see their faces when we actually fix their appliances. For us, the challenge of the work is in finding a solution to a problem. We’re logical people.

Anas 19, and Adil, 38, repair technicians, with a mentor-disciple relationship; they ride around Tangier in a motorcycle, often forgetting to wear their helmets. They fix all sorts of appliances, from leaking faucets to wash machines, and everything in between.

Si Ahmed

There’s order in masonry; there’s precision and alignment. It is practically following nature. I am a simple Moroccan man, I just build homes for people, and my work is honest and lasting. It will be around for hundreds of years.

Si Ahmed, mason, 54: a man of precise habits, mathematical in nature and a veteran of the Moroccan Army.

Abdelhadi

 It’s not easy, but the only way I understand how to make progress is to work hard. I want to see my children have a good future in this Morocco of ours. Despite all, I am an optimist. For me, that is the way to be.

Abdelhadi: 37, House painter, a father of three, making a journey in this life.  

Edited comments and Photos by M. Zefzaf

Mohamed Zefzaf is a Professor of English & Storyteller at the Massachusetts Bay Community College/USA


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