Agriculture and Fishery
Agriculture and Fishery
Agriculture in Morocco employs around 40% of the country’s workforce, making it the biggest employer in the country. The natural forests of Morocco cover a total of 5.8 million hectares, and it has 3.2 million hectares of esparto grass steppes. The land has 530,000 hectares of planted forest.
According to the recent statistics, which the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries released in 2008, the Morocco fishing productivity of 1,017,000 tons was more as compared to the previous year with a growth of 15%. The Morocco fisheries is the largest producer in Africa, and has around 3000 offshore fishing boats, fishing vessels more than 400 and thousands of small fishing vessels. The Government is also putting in efforts for regeneration of forests, both naturally and artificially.
Statistics say that around 9,895,000 i.e. 22.1% or 24,451,000 acres, of the entire land region, is arable in Morocco, excluding Western Sahara. Nearly 43% of the tillable land is dedicated to cereals, 3% to pulses, 7% to plantation crops that includes almonds, olives, grapes, citrus and dates, 2% to industrial crops such as, cotton, sugar cane, sugar beets and oilseeds, 2% to forage, 2% to vegetables and 42% is considered to be fallow.
A bulk of the native population carries out conventional subsistence farming on plots that are less than 5 hectares i.e. 12 acres. Morocco has a temperate climate and adequate precipitation that are extremely conducive to agricultural growth in the Northwest. More than 40% of Morocco’s intake of flour and grains is imported from France and the United States.
Morocco is indeed self-sufficient in the production of food. In addition, the Moroccan agricultural production also comprises of tomatoes, orange, potatoes, olive oil and olives. Normally, high quality agricultural goods are exported to Europe. Morocco generates sufficient food for domestic consumption, except for sugar, grains, tea and coffee. Also, the Morocco agriculture industry enjoys a total tax exemption.
Regeneration of forests
Morocco has encouraged the idea of forestry and reforestration has become a chief goal of the Government. Morocco’s forests are estimated to cover an area of approximately 9 million hectares, or 12% of the nation’s surface region. The forests in Morocco cover around 6.8% of the land reagion and also offer subsistence for the families engaged in wood cutting, cork gathering, and other forestry occupations.
Cork, which is the major forest product, is produced on 300,000 hectares i.e. 741,000 acres of the state-owned cork oak forests. The other commercial trees mainly include thuja, evergreen oak, cedar and argan. Vegetable fiber and Esparto grass are other essential forest products. Also, there are artificial plantings of more than 45,000 hectares i.e. 111,000 acres of eucalyptus trees that furnish the raw materials for the fast growing cellulose textile industry.
The reforestration (sylviculture) plan was proposed by the Moroccan Government way back during 1981–85. It was proposed to reforest around 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres) yearly. In 2007, the updated statistics displayed that Morocco planted nearly 37,000 hectares of new forest annually and strong efforts were being made to augment this rate. The Government believes that it should be possible to attain a rate of 50,000 hectares a year and make sure the continued existence of the country’s forests.
Moroccan fishing industry
Fishing has been a chief industry right from the 30s and it’s mainly centered in the cities of Safi, Tan-Tan and Agadir. Morocco is also the biggest prodeucer of the European sardine. The coastal fishing accounts for nearly 86% of the total production, 13% deep-sea fishing and algae aquaculture and cultivation.
Mainly, the waters off the Western Sahara are known to be rich in seafood. The coastal fishing supplies for the Moroccan fish processing industry, which can be seen in the Southern cities of Tan-Tan, Layoun, Agadir and Tarfaya. The aquaculture production mainly includes sea bream, seabass, tuna, oysters and eel, which are produced for exportation to Europe.
The major aquaculture farms are situated in Hoceima and Nador on Oulidida on the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and Azrou on an inland lake.