Fès-Saïss: Rachid Benali is alarmed by the delay taken by the M'Dez dam

What worries the producers of the region for the moment is the delay that will take the project to save the plain of Fez-Saïss. Interview. Médias24: How do you assess the forecasts for the current cereal season? Rachid Benali: Morocco had an excellent cereal season. This, with the exception of the regions of El Haouz, Oriental and Souss-Darâa Tafilalet. -What to say about the expected impact on the livestock sector, in particular that of sheep? -Following 2 years of drought in Morocco, the prices of livestock feed were very high but since the start of this campaign, their levels have fallen very significantly. The straw bale went from 25 DH to 10 DH, which allowed the farmers to find a certain balance. Thanks to the very heavy rains this year, the pastures were excellent. – Should we expect a rise in the price of sacrificial sheep in the face of the overbidding that the world commodity market is experiencing? -It is a little early to decide on the prices of sheep this year, but we can already say that the prices will not be higher than those of last year. Two elements reinforce this analysis: the cost price is relatively correct and the supply promises to be abundant. – One year from the deadline set for the realization of the safeguarding project of the plain of Fès-Sais, are you satisfied with its state of progress? -This is a project that will give new impetus to agriculture in the Saiss region. The arrival of large-scale irrigation will generate additional added value, improve the situation of farmers and above all create jobs. Personally, I am not satisfied with its progress. This project, which consists of transferring approximately 125 million cubic meters of water from the Oued Sebou to the Saiss region, revolves around two components. The dam on the Oued Mdez (managed by the Ministry of Equipment) has taken a long time while the pipes to carry water (60 km) and under the Department of Agriculture will be completed on time. . Unfortunately there will be no water transfer if the dam is not completed. -Have you heard about the progress of the M’Dez dam works? -This is a project that we are following very closely. According to several sources, the dam will be very late. Knowing that a minimum of 12 months is needed for the filling of such a structure, we can estimate that it will not be operational before the end of 2023. -A delay at this level carries major risks for regional agriculture and the operators concerned? -This project, which consists of irrigating 35,000 hectares, is part of the philosophy of the new strategy (Generation Green 2020-2030), namely the creation of wealth to improve the situation of farmers. Such a delay will create two major problems. There will be a lag in the level of planned investments in agriculture. However, this dam was designed to improve the situation of farmers and create new wealth, but above all to ease the pressure on the region’s water table. Any delay on this project will only worsen the situation of this water table. Abdelaziz Ghouibi June 17, 2021 at 6:11 p.m. Modified June 17, 2021 at 6:20 p.m.