TRANSITION FROM SURFACE TO DRIP IRRIGATION IN MOROCCO: ANALYSIS THROUGH THE MULTI-LEVEL PERSPECTIVE
Agriculture uses more than 80% of water resources in Morocco. The sector isinefficient in terms of water use due to the dominance of surface irrigation. Toaddress this issue, there have been efforts in Moroccan strategies to convert surfaceirrigation to localized one. This paper analyses the dynamics of conversion fromsurface irrigation to drip irrigation in Fez-Meknes region (north-eastern Morocco)through the lens of the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) on socio-technicaltransitions. MLP
... tions. MLP framework suggests that transitions are the results of dialecticinteractions among a niche (cf. novelty of drip irrigation), a regime (cf. traditionalsystem of surface irrigation) and the socio-technical landscape (e.g. policies). MLPwas complemented with a multi-capital approach to better assess transitionimpacts. Results show that the area equipped with drip irrigation in Fez-Meknesregion increased from 2174 ha in 2008 to 39290 ha in 2016. Different programshave been implemented in the framework of the Green Morocco Plan to fosterirrigation transition e.g. the National Irrigation Water Saving Program (PNEEI),launched in 2007, aims to convert 550,000 ha to localized irrigation (e.g. dripirrigation) in 15 years. Thanks to these programs, financial and technical supporthas been provided to farmers to promote the adoption of water-saving irrigationtechniques and practices. Farm-level results show that transition to localizedirrigation decreases irrigation water use, increases yields and profitability (cf. grossmargin per ha), and improves water productivity. Despite an enabling policylandscape and positive transition impacts, surface irrigation is still maintained inthe region and farmers are reluctant to change for many reasons (e.g. age andeducation level, unclear land tenure, financial and administrative difficulties).Efforts are still needed to train farmers on irrigation scheduling and on the use ofsmart irrigation techniques to save water. Further research is required to betterunderstand current bottlenecks in the irrigation transition process and designappropriate and context-specific transition governance strategies.