Agriculture in Morocco

Agriculture in Morocco Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

The agriculture represents one of the most important sectors in the Moroccan economy. Farmers produce everything from wheat and olives to the different types of fruit. Among other crops and fruits, the country exports citrus fruits and tomatoes, to Europe, Canada, and now the United States. A wide range of climate and soil has led to the production of a variety of crops: in the north grapes, fruit, olives and wheat; to the west oranges, vegetables, and more wheat; in the south, dates. Agriculture provides employment for approximately 40% of the Moroccan work force and contributes 15% to the nation's GDP.

Over 90% of Moroccan agriculture is rain-fed. Since most of Morocco's crops are reliant on adequate rainfall, this sector has produced fluctuating yields. In 1995, agriculture was hit hard due to the effects of a severe drought. The production of cereals produced in fall, like wheat and barley, decreased from a record 9.5 million metric tons in 1994 to 1.6 million metric tons in 1995 as a result of drought. Moreover, Moroccan exporters of fruits and vegetables have experienced growing difficulties with the European Union barriers.

The waters off Morocco's long Atlantic coastline is one of the richest fishing areas in the world, with some 240 species. In 1995, fish processing plants produced 227,000 tons of sardines, tuna, mackerel, and fish meal. Nearly two-thirds of all fish caught are sardines, which are canned for export. Approximately half of the fish caught is processed domestically, whether through freezing or canning. Fresh and processed fish are valuable export earners. Exports of fish and fish products in 1993 accounted for 15% of total exports. The primary fishing posts are Agadir, Tan Tan, and Safi.

Morocco's main agricultural production (based on 1990's figures) is as follows:

· Sugarcane and sugar beets -- 3.7 million metric tons

· Cereals (wheat and barley) -- 3 million metric tons

· Tomatoes -- 900,000 metric tons

· Potatoes -- 900,000 metric tons

· Oranges -- 869,000 metric tons

· Melons -- 551,000 metric tons

· Olives -- 500,000 metric tons

· Grapes -- 294,000 metric tons

· Pulses -- 163,000 metric tons

· Dates -- 82,000 metric tons

In addition, animal husbandry yields the following annual livestock production:

· 17 million sheep

· 5.5 million goats

· 3.3 million cattle

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