Washington, May 17, 2011—The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$4.35million grant to increase Morocco’s small farmer’s resilience to climate change. The grant—from the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)—is designed to strengthen the capacity of institutions and farmers to integrate climate change adaptation measures in projects which are implemented under the Plan Maroc Vert. The Government of Morocco will co-finance the grant with an investment of US$27 million.
The Plan Maroc Vert or ‘Green Plan’ is Morocco’s agricultural strategy which aims to bring better opportunities to farmers by transforming the agri-food sector into a stable source of growth, competitiveness and broad-based economic development in rural areas. It channels investments to smallholders in marginal areas providing opportunities for farmers to bridge the gap with commercial agriculture. About 550 projects directed at small farmers are expected to be implemented throughout Morocco by 2020.
Climate change could jeopardize the gains made under the Plan Maroc Vert by increasing the risk of low harvests, or even crop failure. Small farmers who depend on low-input, rain-fed agriculture as their primary source of income and employment are likely to be most affected. This is consistent with findings of the 2010 World Development Report which identifies Morocco as one of a number of countries that will suffer the most due to climate change.
“Climate change can threaten the livelihood of small farmers in marginal areas of Morocco” said Gabriella Izzi, World Bank Task Team Leader. “There is a need to act now to help small farmers perform better in an uncertain future. The buy-in of farmers is essential and can be achieved only by proposing measures that offer short-term advantages for agricultural production, while at the same time increasing long-term resilience to climate change.”
The project "Integrating Climate Change in the Implementation of the Plan Maroc Vert" will finance climate change adaptation measures among small farmers in five regions of Morocco. It will include a climate change adaptation component in about ten pilots, targeting about 2,500 small farmers. In addition, farmers around each pilot will benefit from training and awareness activities. At an institutional level, the project will finance training and awareness activities for more than 200 staff of institutions involved in the implementation of the Plan Maroc Vert. The objective is to enhance the screening mechanism of future projects, scaling up the benefits of increased resilience of the ten pilots to the whole Plan.
Hoonae Kim, World Bank Sector Manager, added: “Agriculture employs 40 percent of Morocco's labor force and on average contributes 15 percent to GDP. Supporting innovation in adaptation practices today is crucial to ensure that the sector will remain a driver of growth in the coming decades. The GEF/SCCF project does exactly that, by combining a bottom up approach targeting small farmers, with one aimed at leveraging the skills and competencies of Morocco institutions in the agricultural sector."