In the aftermath of the ‘Al Haouz earthquake’ that struck Morocco last Friday, the situation is becoming clearer. According to multiple accounts, the earthquake had little to no impact on agricultural crops. The hardest-hit areas, which were mostly remote and situated in high mountain regions, consisted of traditional clay houses. These communities primarily engaged in subsistence agriculture focused on small-scale arboriculture (fruit and olives) and herb production (like saffron) for local consumption or small-scale local markets. These communities relied more on mountain tourism than agriculture for their livelihoods.
In contrast, regions with commercial agriculture at lower altitudes, such as Agadir, Marrakech, Taroudant, and others, reported minimal damage to crops and agricultural infrastructure. Growers in these areas have resumed their activities after a temporary pause.
Despite being one of the worst-affected regions, Taroudant reported no damage to crops, as local citrus growers remained unaffected. In Agadir, although greenhouses were shaken, they remained stable, with the main disruption being a temporary halt in operations due to workers prioritizing their families.
Some losses were reported in subsistence agriculture, particularly fruit and olive trees in specific areas. However, quantifying these losses proved challenging due to the small volumes involved.
In Ouarzazate, a grower mentioned losses in irrigation infrastructure, such as pipes and a water pumping station. Similar damage was reported in other affected regions, with the primary impact being on the human aspect, as the most affected areas were rural and provided the agricultural workforce.
One noticeable consequence of the earthquake on the agricultural sector, as reported by several producers, was the alteration of underground water sources, with some increasing and others decreasing in flow. The earthquake’s intensity even led to the emergence of new water springs.