open access

Abstract

Morocco is increasingly confronted with drought effects on crop production as 93% of the country is semi-arid. To mitigate the effects water scarcity on agricultural production, farmers should combine all available production technologies and practices to produce more food per cubic meter of water. Direct seeding or no till is one of those practices. The objectives of this study is to (1) evaluate direct seeding technology on lentil productivity and profitability in the Zaer region and (2) assess with farmers the ease of implementation and adoption of direct seeding technology of lentils. Two sets of farmer’s lentil fields, one under direct seeding and the other under conventional cultivation, were compared for their productivity during the 2015 season. In addition, 80 lentil farmers from Brachwa, Ain-Sbit and Merchouch regions, were surveyed to get their experience with lentil direct seeding and their prospects for its adoption for the coming years. The main four sections of the survey questionnaire are (1) information about the farmer and the farm, (2) cultivation practices of lentil production, (3) economics of lentil production and (4) farmer attitude toward the technology of lentil direct seeding. Results from on farm trials, comparing conventional and direct seeding of lentils, and from a survey of 80 lentil fields showed that for this year, direct seeding is not superior to conventional cultivation in either grain yield or profitability. The average yields obtained in direct seeding lentil cultivation vary from 0.40 to 1.35 t/ha and those from conventional lentil cultivation vary from 0.40 to 1.50 qx/ha. Lentil production charges are on average about 5300 DH/ha, with no significant difference between conventional and direct seeding systems. Weed control and harvest are the two operations that dominate production charges of lentils, in either conventional or direct seeding system. They respectively represent 30% and 23% of total production charges. Regarding adoption of lentil direct seeding technology, 33% of farmers think that they will adopt it while the remaining 67% are not yet ready for adoption.

Keywords: direct seeding, conservation agriculture, lentil, morocco, adoption