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Political Economy of the Wheat Sector in Morocco: Seed Systems, Varietal Adoption, and Impacts

Abstract

In Morocco, wheat is an important cereal crop that significantly contributes to the livelihoods of farming communities and the national economy. On average for the period 2010–2016, the country produced 5.7 million tonnes of wheat grain on about 3.2 million ha of land. In 2013, total cereal production accounted for 47% of the agricultural value added. Wheat production alone was worth about USD 850 million, making it the second most important crop after olives. In the 1960s, Morocco was largely self-sufficient, producing more than 80% of the wheat for domestic consumption. This declined over the years and by the turn of the century, on average, only 60% of the total domestic demand for wheat was met. Despite the doubling of its population during the same period, the per capita supply of wheat increased impressively from 138 kg/person in the 1960s to an average of 255 kg/person in the period 2001–2016. Considering the population increase and changing food habits, wheat, and particularly bread, consumption became an even bigger component of food security. With the introduction of improved wheat varieties in the 1980s, significant increases in yields were observed, though the yield levels were far below both the global average of over 3 t/ha and the African average of 2.3 t/ha. Consequently, Morocco continued to import large volumes, making wheat the most important (in both volume and value terms) of all agricultural imports. Despite the high dependency on imports, wheat remains one of the most important food staples in the Moroccan diet. The Green Morocco Plan (GMP) (the official government strategy to achieve food security), for the sustainable management of natural resources and agricultural competitiveness, considers the cereal seed system as a fundamental component to enhance the agricultural sector and to achieve wider economic development. The use of high-yielding varieties and the associated crop management practices have been the major drivers for the significant changes in wheat production and productivity. One of the most important results from public investment in agricultural research is the development of new crop varieties and their associated technologies. The Government of Morocco and its international research and development partners have made substantial investments in agricultural innovation. However, developing new crop varieties is not enough. To have a real impact, crop development should be coupled with an efficient and effective seed-delivery system that will push technologies out to farmers’ fields. Within this context, there are several actors in the Moroccan seed sector. These include the national agricultural research system, public and private seed companies with networks of seed dealers, associations of seed growers and seed traders, and regulatory agencies whose individual or collective strengths and weaknesses influence the country’s ability to achieve meaningful impacts. This book, Political Economy of the Wheat Sector in Morocco: Seed Systems, Varietal Adoption, and Impacts, documents the studies conducted on the wheat sector in general. It also documents the wheat seed system, its adoption and impacts in Morocco, through support provided by the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Wheat and the European Union-International Fund for Agricultural Development (EU-IFAD) Project. Chapter 1 highlights the cereal seed sector, including the policy and regulatory frameworks. Chapter 2 presents the development of improved wheat varieties, their registration and release, including variety protection and licensing for commercialization. Chapter 3 summarizes the early generation seed (breeder, pre-basic, and basic) multiplication by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), and large- scale certified seed production by the public and private sectors. Chapter 4 elaborates on seed quality assurance and certification. Chapter 5 describes the adoption and impacts of improved varieties and seed demand analysis. Chapter 6 presents perspectives on the wheat seed sector. Chapter 7 synthesizes the overall findings on the wheat seed sector, focusing on delivery systems, variety adoption, and impacts in Morocco. The experiences documented in this book are expected to inform stakeholders – including policy makers, researchers, farmers, private and public commercial farms, and development partners – about the status, challenges, and opportunities in the wheat sector in Morocco. Additionally, it paves the way for the development of more efficient intervention options for the future.
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... This finding is consistent with the national importance placed on the crop due to its economic value and livelihood sustenance. In 2009, wheat stood as the most economically viable crop in Morocco with net production of about 6.4 million (MT) and a market value of $1000 (Bishaw et al. 2019). Since 1982, several varieties of bread wheat (25) and durum wheat (34) have been registered in the national catalog along with other crops. ...
... the greatest wheat-consuming countries in the world with about 225 kgs/year per capita. All these developments are encompassed in the Plan Maroc vert (Green Morocco Plan) which aimed at the modernization of agriculture and enhancing the accessibility of agricultural inputs to farmers (Bishaw et al. 2019). Despite this effort, it has been argued that most of the farm inputs and support provided under this program have not often reached smallholder farmers who are at the epicenter of wheat production in Morocco (Lehmann et al. 2020). ...
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Agriculture is an important sector of the Moroccan economy, employing a huge portion of the Moroccan population and contributing about 14-20% to the country's GDP. Unfortunately, agricultural production in Morocco is impacted by climatic, non-climatic, biophysical, and non-biophysical stressors. Researchers have employed various crop models to understand how different crops respond to different environmental conditions such as temperature , precipitation, soil properties, fertilization, and irrigation. Unfortunately, there are no studies that provide a summary and a holistic perspective of the most frequently used models and their calibration inputs in Mo-rocco. This work, therefore, seeks to fill these knowledge gaps by providing a summary of the most calibrated crop models, their calibration input data, the most frequently studied crops, how the studies are published (peer-review or grey literature), and the affiliations of the lead authors. This is achieved through a systematic review of the primary peer review and grey literature. A total of 68 relevant peer review and grey literature papers were considered. The results show that most of the authors are affiliated with Moroccan universities/organizations while wheat is the most studied crop. In addition, the AQUACROP and the regression-based models are the most used crop models. Additionally, most of the models are calibrated in order of importance with variables such as temperature, precipitation, soil properties, irrigation, and fertilizers. On the other hand, there is an observed increase in the use of non-climatic indicators such as poverty, farm income, and literacy levels to fit empirical models. It is still unclear how process-based models will integrate socioeconomic indicators. This work has implications for future research as it provides a holistic picture of the key models that are currently used and their calibration. This information can be used by other projects to select methods to use, and crops to study based on the available data when working on crop models in Morocco, and North Africa. These results underscore the leading role in research funding offered by the government of Morocco and other organizations such as UM6P and OCP Africa in research valorization in Morocco and Africa.
... In developed countries, fungicide seed treatments are used to control Fusarium wilt/root rot complex diseases (Sampaio et al. 2020) . In Morocco, farmers are practicing short crop rotation (wheat followed by chickpea) and fungicide seed treatments but their effectiveness in reducing the disease complex is low (Bishaw et al. 2019) Biocontrol of Fusarium wilt/root rot complex diseases is one of the recommended components of integrated disease management in many pulse crops (Pandey et al. 2018). Among the biological control agents (BCA), rhizobacteria are mostly used since they occupy 7-15% of the rhizosphere (Köhl et al. 2019). ...
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Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp ciceris is one of the major diseases impacting chickpea productivity. Significant losses are reported by farmers due to the absence of effective wilt management options. Biological control using beneficial microorganisms in agriculture, is one of the promising alternatives and eco-friendly strategies utilised to overcome this disease. The present study investigated the biocontrol effect of 40 bacterial strains isolated from the rhizosphere of healthy chickpea plants collected from major chickpea growing regions in Morocco. Twelve out of 40 strains showed more than 25% in vitro inhibition of the pathogen growth. These strains, using the 16S rDNA gene sequencing, were classified into three genera, namely Bacillus, Paenibacillus, and Pseudomonas, represented by different species. Our finding showed that the mode of antagonism was mainly due to the production of diffusible and volatile compounds as well as lytic enzymes. Moreover, a greenhouse experiment of the three selected antagonistic strains showed a significant reduction in the mean of wilt incidence in different chickpea genotypes,StrainB18 reduced the wilt incidence in the susceptible variety from 90% to 18% Consequently, our antagonistic bacterial strains could be a potential component of integrated management of Fusarium wilt, therefore, increase the yield of chickpea.
... Common wheat accounts for about half of the gross value of cereals, followed by durum wheat (27%), barley (23%), maize (2%), and other cereals (sorghum and rice) (1%). The average yields are still low and considerably below the potential of each region [19]. ...
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Climate change continues to have adverse effects on crop yields in Africa and globally. In Morocco, rising temperatures and declining precipitation are having daunting effects on the vulnerability of crops. This study examines the vulnerability of barley, maize, and wheat to variations in growing season precipitation and socio-economic proxies of adaptive capacity such as literacy and poverty rates at both national and sub-national scales in Morocco. The methodology is based on a composite vulnerability index (vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity). National and sub-national crop yield data used to compute the sensitivity index were downloaded from FAOSTAT and the global crop yield gaps Atlas. The mean annual growing season precipitation data at both the national and sub-national scales used to compute the exposure index were downloaded from the world bank climate portal. Proxy data for adaptive capacity in the form of literacy and poverty rates were downloaded from the world bank, figshare, and MPR archives. The CANESM model was used to validate the crop yield observations. The results show that wheat shows the lowest vulnerability and the highest adaptive capacity, while maize has the highest vulnerability and lowest adaptive capacity. Sub-nationally, vulnerability indexes decrease northwards while adaptive capacity and normalized growing season precipitation increase northwards. Wheat also shows the lowest vulnerability and highest adaptive capacity and normalized growing season precipitation at each latitude northward. Model validation shows that the models used here reproduce most of the spatial patterns of the crops concerned. These findings have implications for climate change adaptation and climate policy in Morocco, as it becomes evident which of these most cultivated crops are more vulnerable nationally and spatially. These results have implications for future research, as it might be important to understand how these crops perform under growing season temperature as well as what future projections and yield gaps can be observed.
... Higher rejection rates were observed for durum wheat which may be related to the growing season (Grass and Tourkmani, 1999). Relatively higher rejection level for durum wheat was also reported in Morocco (Bishaw et al 2019). ...
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In Turkey, wheat is the most important crop in terms of land area, volume of production, and monetary value. Despite varied climatic and agro-ecological conditions, wheat is grown in almost all areas of the country. Although a significant proportion of wheat produced is used for domestic consumption, it plays a dominant role as a source of cash accounting; on average, making up to 45% of household income in some areas where it is grown for market. Over the last 30 years, wheat production has remained largely stable, in the range of 16 to 22 million tons, with some annual variations. Wheat area has decreased from 9.3 million hectares in 1988 to 6.8 million hectares in 2019. During the same period, there has been a 27% increase in the average yield – from 1.88 tons ha-1 to 2.78 tons ha-1, which has almost fully offset the reduction in total wheat area, leading to only a slight (7%) reduction in total wheat grain production. In 2019, although Turkey ranked eleventh in global total wheat production, it was the number one wheat flour and bourghul exporting country, with a total export of over 3.34 million tons. Turkey is also a major producer of pasta and related products, with a total production volume of 1.3 million tons in 2016. The establishment, in the 1930s, of regional agricultural research institutes responsible for crop improvement, particularly cereals (wheat, barley), and state farms responsible for production and distribution of seeds of new varieties to farmers, laid the foundation for an organized seed sector in Turkey. The National Wheat Release and Training Project that embarked in 1967 contributed to the start of a ‘green revolution’ in the country, which gained momentum in the 1970s and continued, though at a slower pace, thereafter. In 1991, the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies was established as a central coordinating body of all national agricultural research, where 12 agricultural research institutes were involved in wheat breeding and research in different parts of the country representing different agro-ecologies. From its humble beginning in the 1930s, the wheat seed sector in Turkey has seen considerable changes over the years. While most of the changes were incremental over different phases, but sometimes radical, the most important change has been a rapid expansion in variety registration and certified seed production by the private sector over the last 20 years. These changes are mainly attributed to the policy changes and structural transformation that led to the liberalization of Turkey’s seed sector. Specifically, the Agricultural Law No. 5488 and Seed Law No 5553, both of which were instituted in 2006, and Law No 5042 for the Protection of Breeders’ Rights of New Plant Varieties, which was enacted in 2004. These laws introduced a regulatory framework that encouraged private sector investment in agriculture in general, and the seed sector in particular. This book, Political Economy of the Wheat Sector in Turkey: Seed Systems, Varietal Adoption, and Impacts is a second book in a series (preceded by a similar book focussing on Morocco and to be followed by another focussing on Uzbekistan). The book series ix was possible through support provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat. This book compiles the studies conducted on the Turkish wheat sector, focussing mainly on the seed value chain and covering the entire variety development process –from seed production and marketing, to varietal adoption and impacts; and is organized as follows. Chapter 1 highlights the historical developments of the wheat grain and seed sector, including the policy and regulatory frameworks. Chapter 2 presents the development of agricultural research institutes and hence, the generation of improved wheat varieties, while Chapter 3 focuses on varietal release and protection. Chapter 4 presents a description of the procedures and status of production and commercialization of early generation seed (elite, original), primarily by the National Agricultural Research System, and large-scale certified seed by the private and public sectors. Chapter 5 elaborates on seed quality assurance and certification. Chapter 6 describes the status and identifies the determinants of adoption, assesses the impacts of improved wheat varieties and provides estimates of the annual quantities of wheat seed use. Chapter 7 provides a bird’s eye view of the whole wheat sector in Turkey by synthesizing and establishing linkages between the achievements, limitations, challenges and opportunities documented in each of the preceding 6 chapters and makes recommendations for the way forward. This comprehensive book, where most of the information related to the wheat sector in Turkey is compiled into one document, is the first-of-its-kind in the country. Therefore, we believe that it will be a ‘go to’ document and a good reference material for several years to come. The rich experiences and possible options for mitigating major challenges that deter the development of the sector documented in this book are expected to inform key stakeholders – including policymakers, researchers, farmers, private and public seed companies, and development partners, and by so doing, help in improving the efficiency of the wheat sector in the country.
... The power imbalance is important. After the circulation of the initial draft of Bishaw et al. (2019), the variety licensing contract offered by INRA has been revised including a clause requiring the licensee to produce a minimum amount of seed of the licensed variety. ...
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Low adoption of agricultural technologies slows efforts to increase agricultural productivity and enhance rural livelihoods in developing countries. A large body of literature has sought explanations for the problem, but the focus has been mainly on micro-level farm and community factors affecting adoption. Institutional factors such as policies and market conditions, which are also important, have been largely overlooked and, few, if any, studies combine the two levels of analysis. We use Morocco as a case study to analyze institutional and farm-level factors affecting diffusion and adoption of improved wheat varieties. Results show both sides to be important. Institutional factors such as overly stringent variety testing procedures, imbalance of power among actors in the seed sector and ill-conceived variety licensing contracts limit access to seeds of more recently released varieties. Adoption of older new varieties is found to be affected by farm and farmer characteristics, but imperfect access to new seeds, sometimes associated with the failings identified above, is also a constraint. Findings signal the need for increased private engagement in seed multiplication; revised variety testing procedures; alternative royalty mechanisms; and enhanced linkages between public research and private seed companies.
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Chapter 6 Managing Climate Change Impacts on Food Production and Security in Sri Lanka: The Importance of Climate-Smart Agriculture Mohamed Mujithaba Mohamed Najim, V. Sujirtha, Muneeb M. Musthafa, Mirza Barjees Baig, and Gary S. Straquadine Abstract Sri Lanka is increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change on food production, food security, and livelihoods. This has been mostly discussed in terms of climate impacts on crop productivity (food availability), with little emphasis on other key aspects, namely food access and use. This chapter, based on existing literature, adopted a food system model to obtain a better perspective on food security issues in Sri Lanka. These issues include diminishing agricultural productivity, food loss and wastage along supply chains, low rural poor subsistence resilience, and the prevalence of high under-nutrition and infant malnutrition. This review indicates that ensuring food security requires actions beyond climate-resilient food production systems to take an integrated approach that can promote the climate stability of the entire food system, while addressing nutritional issues emerging from climate change impacts. There is, therefore, an urgent need for settlers to work towards a climate-smart agricultural framework that will tackle all aspects of food security. Besides the output of a few crop species, our study displays a lack of research M. M. M. Najim (*) South Eastern University of Sri Lanka and Professor in Water Resources Management, Department of Zoology and Environmental Management, Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka e-mail: mnajim@kln.ac.lk V. Sujirtha M. M. Musthafa Department of Biosystems Technology, Faculty of Technology, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, University Park, Oluvil, Sri Lanka e-mail: sujirtha@seu.ac.lk M. M. Musthafa e-mail: muneeb@seu.ac.lk M. B. Baig Water and Desert Research, Prince Sultan Institute for Environmental, King Saud University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia e-mail: drbaig2@yahoo.ca; mbbaig@ksu.edu.sa G. S. Straquadine Utah State University – Eastern Campus, Logan, Utah, USA e-mail: gary.straquadine@usu.edu The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 M. Behnassi et al. (eds.), Food Security and Climate-Smart Food Systems, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-92738-7_6
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Despite the undeniable advantages of innovative agricultural production technology, their adoption rate in Morocco is relatively low. In addition to research institutes and private institutions, agricultural information is provided by extension agents who are limited in terms of financial and logistical resources. In this study, we examine, on the one hand, the factors influencing the adoption of mobile phones to access extension services. On the other, we measure the impact of this adoption on wheat production and farmers’ income in the province of Settat (Morocco). In this study we use data collected through a survey of 130 farmers from the province of Settat (Morocco). As analysis methods, we use stratified sampling, descriptive statistics, and the propensity score matching model. The results revealed that farmers who use their mobile phones for extension purposes have slightly higher wheat production than those who do not. The developed model showed that the adoption of mobile phone-based extension services is influenced by farmer's age, educational level, primary source of income, the use of inorganic fertilizers, access to credit and the availability of road infrastructure. The study is a contribution to the efforts of various national stakeholders who have launched a national strategy focused on the digitalisation of extension services. Keywords: Adoption, Extension services, wheat production, Propensity score matching, Mobile phones.
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Zero tillage (ZT) is recommended for dryland farming because it enhances retention of residual soil moisture. However, it is not always clear whether this translates to an economic advantage over conventional tillage, which helps in controlling weeds. Using a nationally representative sample of 1901 wheat fields in Morocco as a case study, we provide comparative analysis on different tillage intensities. Results from an endogenous switching regression model showed that fields that were not tilled gave 298.6 kg/ha (23%) higher yields, US$89/ha (27%) more income and more stable yields than those tilled once or more. Fields that were not tilled also had 87% lower yield variance with 100% and 65.6% less risk of giving yield levels below 500 and 1000 kg/ha, respectively. The highest yield losses occurred during the first and third tillage passes, but the second had negligible effect. Labor saving from avoiding tillage under ZT was undermined by higher labor needed for weeding. Along with biophysical benefits documented elsewhere, our results show that, if constraints for its wider diffusion are removed, zero or reduced tillage has the potential to sustainably improve the economic and biophysical viability of dryland agriculture in Morocco and other similar countries in North Africa and West Asia.
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