Improving the Date Production Chain in the Moroccan Oases through Small Mechanisation Inputs to Support the Governmental Development Strategies
Francesco Garbati Pegna1, Pietro Bartolini1, Lhoussaine El Rhaffari2, Soumia Fahim2, Claudia Zucca3, Enrico Bonaiuti3, Quang Bao Le3
1University of Florence, Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Systems (GESAAF), Italy
Moroccan oases as other Saharan oases are a highly artificial ecosystem that has proved to be capable of sustaining agriculture under arid climatic conditions for centuries, though it has suffered a strong degradation process during the last decades. This is due to a complex phenomenon linked to socio-economic, political and climate changes, that has brought traditional oasis agriculture to lose its relevance, consequently putting its complex environment in serious danger. The most important factors of degradation of the agricultural system are: land and water scarcity, salinity, silting and the negative impact of various pests and diseases (the most dangerous of which is Bayoud). Small farmers are the most important resource for the surviving of the oasis ecosystem but, on a socio-economic point of view, oasis dwellers, especially the younger ones, tend to search for better livelihood opportunities elsewhere, with consequent loss of traditional knowledge and availability of labour for all agricultural operations.
Keywords: Date palm, light mechanisation, small scale, traditional farming systems
Contact Address: Francesco Garbati Pegna, University of Florence, Department of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Systems (GESAAF), piazzale delle Cascine n.15, 50144 Firenze, Italy, e-mail: francesco.garbatiunifi.it