MEGA‐IRRIGATION AND NEOLIBERALISM IN POSTCOLONIAL STATES: EVOLUTION AND CRISIS IN THE GHARB PLAIN, MOROCCO
This article explores the development, evolution and impacts of large‐scale irrigation schemes in the formation of the postcolonial state of Morocco and in more recent neoliberal decades. In particular, the article focuses on the Gharb Plain in the Sebou River basin, which was targeted by huge investments to become the core region for national development. In this area, three stages of development – colonial, early independent, and the aggressive politique des grandes barrages post‐1970 – have created two clearly different and successive landscapes. The traditional landscape has been overlain, and largely obliterated, by colonial and postcolonial governmental landscapes, reflected through different spatial, economic, cultural, and political patterns over time. In the present, a fourth stage of neoliberal development is occurring in the landscape, in which diffused poverty and ecosystem collapse coincide with greater concentrated wealth and the building of technological infrastructures. The article aims to complement critical studies on neoliberal environments, by focusing in particular on the manipulation, dispossession and commodification of water and land resources in irrigated agriculture in Morocco. These emerging rationalities are closely related to the changing policies of the contemporary Moroccan state.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, PO Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland,
Publication date: 2012-09-01