Morocco announces 500% increase of agriculture zone in occupied Dakhla
tomato-greenhouse_610.jpg

... precisely in the territory that the highest Court of the European Union considers "distinct and separate" from Morocco.
Printer version    
A new agricultural zone of a staggering 5000 hectares - that is what the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch announced in Dakhla, in late September 2017. Akhannouch' declaration was made at the second edition of the international agricultural forum, organised by the Dakhla Chamber of Commerce to attract investors.

The lands destined for the project have already been identified, according to Moroccan newspaper L'Economiste. Two types of operators can apply for a plot: industrial producers, notably those focusing on greenhouse production destined for export; and local, small-scale farmers.

At present, just under 1000 ha of land near the Dakhla peninsula are used by large-scale agro-industry, as in line with the goal of the Moroccan Green Plan to reach 1000 ha by 2020.

Tomatoes and melons are the main crops in the area, though cherry tomatoes - yielding between 80 and 120 tonnes per hectare - take up the lion's share of production, destined for export. Today, four big agro-operators cultivate the Dakhla plantations; Rosaflor, Sofropel, Azura and Les Domaines Royaux - the latter being owned by the Moroccan monarchy.

Dakhla is located in the south of the territory that is treated by the UN as the last unresolved colonial question in Africa, and under partial illegal occupation by one of the EU's important trading partners: Morocco.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the production from Dakhla in recent years ended up in Europe, as WSRW documented in its 2012 report "Label and Liability". The report was taken into consideration by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which in December 2016 ruled that no trade or association agreement with Morocco could be applied to Western Sahara, without the express consent of the people of the territory: the Saharawis. One of the direct implications for this ruling is the end of preferential access to the EU market for goods coming from occupied Western Sahara (although the exact implementation of this legally binding obligation remains unclear).

The judgment angered the Moroccan government. On 6 February 2017, Morocco's Minister for Agriculture released a statement warning that any obstacles to his country’s agriculture and fishing exports to Europe could renew the “migration flows” that Rabat has “managed and maintained” with “sustained effort.”

Yet in spite of the CJEU judgment, potentially costing Morocco its main export market for the Dakhla crops, the Moroccan government is eager to press on agricultural development in the occupied territory. An additional 5000 ha added to the cited operational 1000 ha would equal an increase of 500%.

The European Commission, in blatant disrespect of the EU Court's judgment, is at present engaged in talks with Rabat to secure its imports from Western Sahara within the framework of the EU-Morocco trade deal.

The previous growth phase of Dakhla's agricultural infrastructure came at the time when Morocco and the EU were negotiating the contentious bilateral trade agreement, suggesting that the Moroccan government and the Moroccan/French companies involved had expected the trade agreement to go through with the inclusion of occupied Western Sahara.

To equip that gigantic agricultural zone, the Moroccan Ministry for Agriculture has launched two international tenders;
1. Co-financing, conception, construction, exploitation and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure for a period of 22 years.
2. Co-financing, conception, construction, exploitation and maintenance of a so-called green park, consisting of a desalination station, a wind park and water station for a period of 22 years.

The tender closes on 1 February 2018.

"Companies applying should be made well aware that doing business in and with Western Sahara carries serious legal, moral and financial risks. The ongoing and polemical trade negotiations between the EU Commission and Morocco over Western Sahara will add additional spotlight of such questionable corporate behaviour", says Davide Contini of WSRW.

The agricultural activity near Dakhla often appears as a veritable fata morgana: to grow crops in this desert land, the industry uses the underground water reserves. That the Moroccan government now seeks to move towards desalinated sea water, indicates that the water reserves are past their heyday.







    
News:

10.11 - 2017 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
31.10 - 2017 / 12.10 - 2017Moroccan wind energy in occupied Western Sahara passing 40%
31.10 - 2017 / 31.10 - 2017Interview with Jytte Guteland: 1 of 5 MEPs evicted from Western Sahara
30.10 - 2017 / 10.10 - 2017UK company building wind park in occupied Western Sahara
26.10 - 2017 / 26.10 - 2017Kosmos surveying oil potential near Dakhla again?
24.10 - 2017 / 24.10 - 2017EU Parliament approves Morocco aviation deal including Western Sahara
24.10 - 2017 / 24.10 - 2017EU-Morocco trade talks: replacing Saharawis with Moroccans
23.10 - 2017 / 20.10 - 2017Imminent vote on EU-Morocco aviation deal, covering Western Sahara
11.10 - 2017 / 10.10 - 2017Wärtsilä to build power plant in occupied Western Sahara
09.10 - 2017 / 09.10 - 2017Morocco announces 500% increase of agriculture zone in occupied Dakhla
27.09 - 2017 / 26.09 - 2017EU appears clueless on import levels from Western Sahara
27.09 - 2017 / 25.09 - 2017New report: Sweden must advise companies on Western Sahara
01.09 - 2017 / 01.09 - 2017Saharawi organisations slam EU over trade talks with Morocco
19.07 - 2017 / 18.07 - 2017Civilian court follows military court against Saharawi activists
13.07 - 2017 / 13.07 - 2017Western Sahara has won its conflict cargo case in South Africa
10.07 - 2017 / 10.07 - 2017Siemens inconsistently supporting occupations
05.07 - 2017 / 05.07 - 2017Sign up! Stop EU trade talks with Morocco regarding Western Sahara!
02.07 - 2017 / 01.07 - 2017New Chinese interest in oil search in occupied Western Sahara?
30.06 - 2017 / 30.06 - 2017Here is Dura Bulk unloading Western Sahara sand in Tenerife
30.06 - 2017 / 29.06 - 2017Western Sahara solar plants expected to be operational in 2018




EN ES FR DE AR

Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
The Western Sahara oil curse

tn_san_leon_protest_camps_8_august_2015_610x200.jpg

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.

WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy