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University of Arizona (2019)

Irrigation in Southeast Morocco : Effects on Rural Livelihoods

Elder, Alison D.

Titre : Irrigation in Southeast Morocco : Effects on Rural Livelihoods

Auteur : Elder, Alison D.

Université de soutenance : University of Arizona

Grade : Master of Arts (MA) 2019

Résumé
Irrigated agriculture and the liberalization of land markets are promoted as engines for rural development and economic growth. However, in practice they often reinforce existing social and economic disparities, create conflict over land and water resources, and degrade the natural environment. In southeastern Morocco, irrigated agriculture has expanded rapidly in a desert area formerly characterized by traditional small-scale oasis agriculture and livestock grazing. The country’s 2008 Green Morocco Plan (GMP) to modernize and expand agriculture is fueling this expansion with incentives and subsidies encouraging agricultural growth and foreign investment. This paper investigates development processes around irrigated agriculture in southeastern Morocco in an area immediately surrounding the town of Boudnib and its eight satellite villages, an area undergoing significant change and illustrative of larger economic challenges underway in Morocco. It follows a mixed methods approach including document analysis, semi-structured interviews, a roundtable discussion and surveys, to examine the effects of irrigation on labor and income opportunities and water supply. This research aims to highlight the voices and experiences of local people affected by irrigation alongside those of government, NGO leaders, and foreign investors. The findings suggest that despite the GMP’s “green” label and claim to fight poverty through the provision of economic opportunities for rural people, job opportunities are low-paying and unreliable and water supply is decreasing. This means that outsider investors and farmers benefit in the short-term from free groundwater and cheap local labor, leaving local people to deal with the long-term consequences of ecological damage. These findings have implications for other water-stressed parts of the world, especially for developing countries implementing irrigation-based agricultural development.

Mots clés : Development Green Morocco Plan Irrigated Agriculture Morocco Rural Livelihoods Water

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Page publiée le 5 février 2020