Extensive livestock farming in Morocco: from marginal territories to major social and environmental roles

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1 Extensive livestock farming in Morocco: from marginal territories to major social and environmental roles Dr. SRAÏRI Mohamed Taher Hassan II Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine Institute Rabat, , MOROCCO

2 Introduction Morocco: mainly a semi-arid and arid (15 and 78% of its area) country Located in the Western fringes of North Africa (750,000 km 2 ) Characterised by a wide diversity of agro ecosystems: oases, mountains, deserts,... An important animal wealth with several breeds (some of them with global reputation) Livestock production used several strategies to cope with climatic hazards However, marked demographic changes of the 20 st century implied the implementation of targeted policies to secure the supply of animal products

3 Introduction Bioclimatic areas 1 Sub-humid area 2 Atlantic semi-arid area Atlantic Ocean 3 Atlantic arid area 4 Mountain semi-arid area 5 Mediterranean arid area 6 Bush arid area 7 Mountain arid area Algeria 8 Northern atlantic arid area 9 Saharan arid area

4 Recent evolutions in animal products demand Major demographic changes in Morocco: from 1956 to 2008, the population has more than doubled (15.3 to 34.3 million inhabitants) Massive rural exodus: more than 55.1% of the people live in big cities (27.8% in 1956) Obvious changes in nutritional habits: - more people eat outside the home; - emergence of metabolic diseases (obesity, diabetes, hypertension ). As a consequence: - a shift in the demand in animal products from red meat to poultry products - mutton has gained a festal status, mainly consumed during the ceremony of El Aïd

5 Recent evolutions in animal products demand Fundamentally, animal products consumption remains weak in Morocco Annually, some 25 kg of meat (13 kg of poultry, 5 of beef and 5 of goat and mutton, 2 of camels and other species), 9 kg of fish, 50 kg of milk and 130 eggs per capita Wide variations in animal products consumption among individuals, linked to the level of households income Evolution of meat consumption in Morocco ( ) All kinds of meat kg/capita.year Meat from small ruminants % of total meat Source: FAO STAT 2010

6 Livestock policies to secure the supply The sudden emergence of modern poultry production Implemented by private operators since early 1960s Located in areas near the Atlantic coast (port of Casablanca) A sustained trend of growth: 201 to 2,700 million eggs from 1980 to ,000 to 440,000 tons of broiler meat in the same period However: - a marked dependency on imported inputs (chicks and feedstuffs) - an obvious vulnerability to heat stresses - a structural weakness due to sanitary risks (avian influenza) A strategic sector to provide cheap animal products but with major constraints

7 Livestock policies to secure the supply The implementation of modern dairying with smallholder farms Launching of a Dairy Plan in the early 1970s Encouraging local milk production by a series of political choices: - constitution of a nucleus of dairy cows by imports of heifers and AI - promotion of fodder production, mainly in irrigated schemes - incentives on strategic inputs (feed, milking machines, etc.) - implementation of a milk collection policy based on farmers co-operatives - protection of the domestic dairy chain by heavy taxes on imported milk powder

8 Livestock policies to secure the supply The implementation of modern dairying with smallholder farms Milk collection centres (MCC) Milk output (10 3 metric tons) Milk collection centres Milk collected Total milk processed

9 Livestock policies to secure the supply The difficulties of dairying with smallholder farms A raw milk supply mainly from smallholder farms: fragmented offer In such chains, traceability of products quite impossible Numerous batches of limited quantities of milk delivered daily at the same time Rapidly melted in a tank in MCCs Milk quality analyses costs often higher than their market value MCCs: a way to decrease logistic costs But, no possibility to remunerate each farmer to its actual milk quality

10 Livestock policies to secure the supply The difficulties of dairying with smallholder farms A crucial issue under Moroccan conditions: water productivity through cattle farming In fact, more than 60% of the total output of milk originates from large scale irrigated schemes Studying a series of production functions in dual (milk and meat) purpose herds Scheme managers Farmer Liveweight gain Surface Water network Forage plots Forages Purchased feed Dual purpose herds Milk Water resources Groundwater Rainfall VIRTUAL WATER 1.8 cubic meters needed to get 1 kg of milk and 16.5 cubic meters to produce 1 kg of beef A crucial issue for sustainable dairying: considering water resources in a context of scarcity

11 Livestock policies to secure the supply Traditional extensive livestock systems A very old tradition of ruminants rearing in Morocco Cattle mainly raised for calf crop: no selection for milk Performances highly dependant on feed availability (rainfall levels) Sheep and goats in various agro ecosystems An animal wealth adapted to grazing in marginal areas Meat, wool, handicraft: identity products...

12 Livestock policies to secure the supply Traditional extensive livestock systems Sheep production systems linked to feed resources and breeds - pastoral systems - agro pastoral systems - oasis systems Recent evolutions More off farm feed resources used (to avoid drought effects) Small ruminants accused of overgrazing BUT, contribute to wealth creation Provide high quality products (live animals with religious roles)

13 Conclusion Extensive livestock systems lose ground in front of modern poultry and irrigated dairying A logical response to changes in the demand of animal products Adapted livestock policies to cope with these evolutions However, such strategies show obvious limitations The need to consider water resources (quality, depletion, ) and the whole environment feedstuffs and genes dependency Rehabilitating extensive livestock systems more opportunities of income for local populations in marginal areas less dependency on imported food products with more organic value

14 It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so. Artemus Ward

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