Rabat – Rainfalls are finally here, watering the lands and easing the spirits. However, this winter season came with an unusual and intense cold wave, predicting several repercussions on the 2018 agricultural season.
While the recent rainfalls are appeasing the fears of a devastating drought, the heavy snowfall that touched the majority of the mountainous regions of the country are raising some serious concerns among farmers. This intense cold wave could have dire consequences on this agriculture season: a decline in yield, lack of cattle feeds, and lethal hail for blooming crops.
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In recent weeks, the National Meteorologic Direction announced temperatures that are generally below normal, with heavy snowfall affecting the High and Middle Atlas from 900 meters above sea level, with temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius.
The center of the country, with its mountainous population accustomed to very harsh winters, has been most affected by this cold wave that has been felt since Friday.
Several roads have been cut due to snow, according to the Ministry of Transport, aggravating the isolation of the villages at high altitude. The cold also affects, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic coast. In Rabat, a hailstorm hit the city on Monday, while an impressive waterspout was observed Sunday off the administrative capital.
The heavy rains are greeted with some relief by farmers who were worried about the risk of drought, yet this cold snap remains a problem for the agricultural sector. Crops, even those grown in greenhouses, are strongly affected by temperatures that are not conducive to plant growth or the maturation of fruits and vegetables.
Following the arrival of the long-awaited rains, it is now the unusual cold that worries the actors of the agricultural sector. Cereal production has already registered a certain decline during the month of December due to weather conditions.