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Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerabilities in the Livestock Sector in North Africa, the Case of Morocco.

Submitted by Fouad Bergigui 23rd May 2011 12:54


Introduction

This case study report attempts to spotlight the potential climate change consequences on North Africa’s livestock sector and possible adaptation measures. It presents a literature overview of some relevant studies and projects on the subject in Morocco. Probable decrease in water and feeding resources associated with increasing heat stress and outbreaks of emergent and reemergent animal diseases underscore the need to act fast and efficiently through exploring quality data via methodological vulnerability assessment studies. Doing so may point the way towards appropriate adaptation strategies  in time to anticipate potential damages. Failing to do so may disturb the fragile livestock’s balance between ensuring food security, supporting livelihoods of rural populations and preserving the environment, in a region where the socio-economic balance is already destabilised by the uprisings of the Arab Spring.

Methodology

A literature review on livestock’s interrelations with agriculture and climate change has been performed to assess potential climate change vulnerabilities within the livestock sector in Morocco. Many resources were explored including the statements made in global reports, locally produced studies, and projects within Morocco that are either in progress or are completed. Within the Moroccan context, almost all the quantitative and qualitative studies performed to date focused  on the assessment of climate change impacts on agricultural yields of crop families of major socio-economic importance such as cereals. As for livestock which is considered a secondary agricultural-related sector, few analyses have been done to assess climate vulnerabilities.

The main findings about climate change are impacts on feeding resources, livestock production, and animal health which are summarized in the report. It’s extremely difficult to assess the actual level of confidence of theses impacts on the Moroccan livestock sector due to lack of available data and adapted methodologies; however it is a starting point that spotlights the situtation of livestock production under climate change in Morocco. 

Lessons Learnt

As a consequence of the projected changes in climate patterns in Morocco the livestock sector may face serious threats in terms of availability and quality of feeding resources especially in dry rangeland, oasis and rainfed agro-ecological zones. During drought periods, water and food deprivation associated to heat stress will impact negatively on animal reproduction and production performances.

Emergent and re-emergent animal diseases driven by climate and environmental changes could have disastrous consequences on susceptible animals. Climate change vulnerabilities within the livestock sector are warning signals to food security and livelihoods of the wide community of Moroccan stockbreeders and other stakeholders within the livestock-agricultural cluster. These signals should be interpreted to develop an integrated livestock preventive adaptation response starting by reducing its water footprint while increasing its productivity. However, prior to any adaptation strategy, methodological tools and models needs to be developed and adapted through a multidisciplinary research approach in order to conduct detailed vulnerability assessments through a cascade of interlinked livestock related sectors including climate, hydrology, agriculture and animal health.

Further Resources