Irrigation project in Morocco gets World Bank approval

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• Project gets US$70 million to promote more sustainable use of irrigation water in the Oum Er Rbia Basin

WASHINGTON, DC, May 27, 2010 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved today the "Oum Er Rbia Basin" Irrigated Agriculture Modernization project. The project intends to help participating farmers, in the "Oum Er Rbia" basin in Morocco, increase productivity and reach a sustainable use of irrigation water to overcome current and future water deficits.

The project is divided into three components. The first component aims at providing participating farmers with irrigation service necessary for high efficiency drip irrigation. This will be achieved mainly through: (i) replacing irrigation canals with pressurized systems or adapting existing pressurized systems; and (ii) providing irrigation water on-demand, with a predetermined annual quota according to surface water availability.

The second component of the project intends to support farmers and their partners have better access to technology, financing, and agricultural markets. This will be accomplished through: (i) provision of technical assistance to regional agricultural development offices to support farmers develop and enter into partnership agreements aiming at securing markets for high value crops; (ii) provision of technical assistance and equipment to regional agricultural development offices to help the implementation of the market information system; (iii) provision of technical assistance to the regional agricultural development offices to help farmers to use the new irrigation equipment and to improve their agricultural practices; and (iv) provision of mobile laboratory equipment to regional agricultural development offices to monitor performance of new irrigation systems.

The third component of the project is intended to assist implementing agencies in project management and monitoring. This component aims at building capacities of the Borrower and project implementing agencies to enable them to ensure good management, monitoring and evaluation of project activities and results. Main activities will include: (i) provision of training, technical assistance and computer equipment to the Ministry of agriculture and marine fisheries; (ii) provision of training and technical assistance for improving Project management tools, Project monitoring and evaluation, including environmental management and land acquisition plans; (iii) provision of technical assistance for reviewing on-farm irrigation projects to be submitted by farmers; (iv) provision of vehicles and computer equipment for project management and supervision; and (v) Rehabilitation of, and provision of equipment for field extension offices.

This project, with its three key components and concrete objectives, falls in line with , the recently announced, strategic partnership between the World Bank and Morocco in support of the country's ambitious development goals.

For more information on this project and on World Bank's activities in Morocco, please visit www.worldbank.org/ma

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