The Plantae probes reach agriculture in Morocco, to control soil moisture, salinity, temperature and relative humidity. All with the aim of achieving better quality and more crop quantity, while saving water and energy.
Factors to highlight in the agriculture of Morocco
Morocco has an oceanic climate throughout the Atlantic fringe, with high temperatures and heavy rains. with periods of drought and in the upper zone it has a Mediterranean and warm climate. The interior is hot and dry.
Agriculture in Morocco took an important turn with the "Green Morocco Plan" in force since 2008 to encourage the growth of agriculture and lower unemployment.
Within this plan is the "National Irrigation Water Saving Program" with the following objectives:
- Create lasting infrastructures.
- Saving water and energy.
- Increase productivity.
- Improve irrigation methods.
- Provide financial support for facilities.
- Streamline procedures.
The most important crops are tomatoes, outdoors and in greenhouses, and vegetables.
However, agricultural production is not excessive, 14% of the country's total area.
In foreign agriculture, the production of potatoes, tomatoes and onions stands out. We can also find olive and fruit trees and it is deficient in cereals, legumes and sugar.
Vineyards should also be highlighted, especially in the upper part of the oceanic fringe and in the coastal area of the Mediterranean, as can be seen on the map.
Greenhouses in Morocco
One of the most important advances in recent years is the increase in greenhouses, especially tomatoes, of which it is the main exporter.
The main advantage that Morocco offers is that it can grow vegetables out of season from other Mediterranean areas.
This way you can expand your exports, especially in winter.
The Moroccan tomato is not preferred, because it has a hard skin, but when there is a shortage of another, it is used.
The areas with the most greenhouses are:
- The Jadida.
- The Sahara.
Specifically in Agadir we find with our visit: tomatoes, green beans, peppers, courgettes and strawberries.
80% of tomato production is greenhouse.
The greenhouses increased considerably with the collaboration of Spanish companies in the areas of:
- Ghrab, between Tangier and Rabat.
- Souss Valley, with capital in Agadir, where the largest area with plastics is concentrated.
The principales cultivos de estos invernaderos son:
- Vegetables, highlighting tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, peppers...
- Strawberries and other red fruits such as blueberries, raspberries...
- Flowers and aromatic plants.
- Nuts and fruit trees.
The normal thing in greenhouses is that irrigation is by drip,
Sondas Plantae in Moroccan agriculture
Going one step further in the installation of sensors, we arrived in Morocco, specifically at a tomato plantation in AGADIR.
One of the main problems of agriculture in Morocco is the scarcity of water. Controlling the plantation and being able to optimize the crop with savings of up to 40% is something that farmers in Morocco are considering.
In addition, as we can see in the image, the graph indicates the degree of humidity that we have in real time.
Humidity control will influence the quality of the tomato and the uniformity of production.
The sensors are installed at a depth of 15 and 30 centimeters.
We can control:
- Wet bulb moisture at different depths.
- The conductivity, to avoid accumulation of salts.
- La temperatura radicular que nos previene de posibles enfermedades.
- La cantidad de litros por metro cuadrado, in case of being an outdoor plantation.
- Ambient temperature, importante en los invernaderos y en exterior.
- Irrigation flow, adaptable al grosor de la tubería.
- Relative humidity, especially important in greenhouses.
The control of the irrigation parameters makes the crop grow in a more homogeneous way.
We can appreciate the quality of the tomato plants ready for transplanting in the images of a greenhouse controlled by Plantae sensors.
Irrigation control scheme in tomato
We focus on the needs of tomato irrigation control as it is one of the main agricultural crops in Morocco, but it is applicable to all vegetables.
- Drip irrigation.
- Root system, formed by fibrous and adventitious roots.
- Wet bulb: the shape depends on the type of soil. It is more elongated the more sandy the composition of the soil.
- Humidity sensor and conductivity: sends information in real time to be able to adapt the irrigation system to the needs of the plant according to the phenological state.
- Temperature probe: very important to detect the health of the root system and therefore the good absorption of nutrients.
- Connector depths: for humidity, temperature and conductivity sensors. They vary depending on the length of the roots.
- Accumulation of salts: around the wet bulb due to irrigation water washing. They also accumulate on the top edge by evaporation. Excessive accumulation due to uncontrolled irrigation impairs the good absorption of the nutrients that the plant needs.
- Runoff: much lower as we control the irrigation system more.
- Terrain: Ideally, it should have a loamy texture. The ones that allow it to develop its roots because they are lighter and more permeable. The sandy ones do not suit you because they retain little water and the heavy ones become very waterlogged and weaken the root system.
- Drip irrigation pipe: It can also be buried.
- Evaporation: increases with lack of irrigation control and high temperatures. If the irrigation is buried, less evaporation occurs.
- Transpiration: the water that is lost in the form of vapor and increases as the plant has more branches and leaves. It favors the circulation of the sap and is altered when the stomata close because they detect a lack of absorption by the roots due to water deficit, producing water stress in the plant.