Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary - Chapter 6: Agriculture and Food Security

The climate is what affects and determines agriculture; so agriculture has adapted to temperature and precipitation for thousands of years and adapted to  day-to-day weather variations and long-term seasonal shifts. Climate change, however, is accelerating and intensifying these shifts, affecting those in the agriculture industry. 

The rural poor who depend on agriculture are especially at risk. It is expected that rural poverty will increase because of climate change, because they may lose their livelihood due principally to water scarcity, facing chronic poverty, hunger and economic dislocation. 80% of drought impacts are felt by the rural poor, so it is important they have accessible technology capable of informing them of weather patterns, allowing them then to adapt and shift production alongside climatic variability.

Climate change will impact the agriculture industry’s water management in a magnitude of ways, which are described in Table 6.1 of the report.

Agricultural water demand comes largely from irrigation, which is responsible for 69% of water withdrawals on this planet. The demand for irrigated land is a direct result of the expansion and intensification of crop production. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of global irrigation applications are around 50% when set against water withdrawals of 2,769 km3/yr, meaning irrigation is not as effective as it can and certainly should be. Many believe increased irrigation will result in reduced water withdrawal, but this assumption is ill-founded. Groundwater, on the other hand, is underestimated as a source of water for agriculture and rural development. Shallow and deep groundwater extraction can be beneficial for smaller scale agricultural production during dry-seasons and periods of drought. Outside of irrigation and groundwater, the report also examines global meat consumption, fish production, and biofuel production as components for the agriculture sector that impact and are affected by climate change. 

Adaptation and Mitigation

Agricultural water management must adapt its modes of production to cope with water scarcity and water excess. The report highly recommends a set of ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ (CSA) approaches to land and water management, such as soil conversion to anticipate climatic variability and carbon sequestration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture that depends on rain can optimize soil by adapting to climate change, but will ultimately depend on the presence of rainfall.

CSA also stresses the importance of climate-informed measures to inform water resource management and agricultural development. Examples of climate-informed measures include seasonal climate forecasts for months and years, near-real-time weather information, in-situ soil moisture technology, integrating basin-level hydrology and recharge regimes to CSA, and increased investment and planning in agriculture water management. 

The agriculture industry also needs to mitigate climate change by decarbonizing and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors produce roughly 23% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from 2007 to 2016. Although the agriculture sector's share of total greenhouse gas emissions is decreasing, its net emissions are expected to increase. The sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are largely driven by turning ecosystems such as forests and wetlands into land for agriculture production. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the report recommends improving drainage management in natural wetlands and wetland forests, reducing deforestation and forest degradation, and reforesting for carbon sequestration. 

The report concludes its chapter on agriculture by restating the importance of scaling adaptation and mitigation measures for the community, sector, or country’s needs, which can be seen in the image below. 

Written by: Gari DeRamos, Dar Si Hmad's former intern

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dar Si Hmad Highlights of September 2020


You have certainly learned from our social media posts that Dar Si Hmad's team has grown this month! Yes, more life, more energy and more creativity has been added to our organization in September 2020 marked by many events. This post will give you an insight on all of its highlights, so continue reading.

While our director was busy in Sidi Ifni with the preparation of our countryside projects, the team at the office in Agadir, was rather focused on our educational projects, mainly the RISE micro-project.  Dar Si Hmad Agadir based staff, plus  a consultant, a fellow and an intern all combined efforts to design a year-long program composed of a Fall term, training students on advocacy techniques for ecology, and a Spring term during which the beneficiaries will move towards operationalizing an ecological project to serve their community. So if you are a university student from the region of Souss Massa or the province of Sidi Ifni and would like to benefit from this year’s RISE training, stay tuned for our upcoming social media post that will guide you through the registration process.

We have fun moments too at Dar Si Hmad even during hard working times. This month, we ceased the opportunity of all of us finally working physically together to celebrate Abderrahman’s birthday in the office, our logistic and maintenance officer and DSH’s oldest employee. For us the office is like  our second home, and our new interns shared some of these homely moments such as our famous Friday couscous meal and our office manager, Samira’s  delicious cakes she bakes for the workplace every Monday morning. We might start sharing these little sweet details in our venue with you on our social media platforms if you wish to.

Last but not least, our agroecology training we designed in partnership with the Cooperative Domaine Nzaha and the High Atlas Foundation, was finally launched on the last weekend of September 2020. We had a group of beneficiaries from two oases, Ougoug and Tighmert, participate in it. We were very content with the interest expressed about this initiative funded by the High Atlas Foundation, and the eco friendly solutions presented to help these communities revive their lands and make them more sustainable. Stay tuned for the video that compiles the best of Afous Ghissiki’s first sessions and expect more audiovisual content on our social media!