Climate Resilience in Moroccan Dryland Wheat: a Modelling Study on Food Security
Joshua West. (30/9/2020). Climate Resilience in Moroccan Dryland Wheat: a Modelling Study on Food Security.
The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) has carried agronomic research on drought resistant crops since the 1970s. Varieties derived from their research are now common throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Their field trials at Merchouch research station in Morocco have assessed the performance of several different genotypes of bread and durum wheat under different seasons, as well as the effect of different planting dates and water regimes. This study analyses the results of these trials and then uses the data to calibrate the AquaCrop model. AquaCrop is found to be able to simulate rainfed yields with a high degree of accuracy but to significantly overestimate yield gains from irrigation in dry years. The model is then run using down-scaled climate model data for the study area to project future yields. Under future climate scenarios yields are projected to increase by 6.5% by the period 2060-70 under RCP 4.5 with CO2 enrichment considered, but to decline by 5.9% without it. Under RCP 8.5 they are projected to increase by 14.1% by this period with CO2 enrichment but to decline by 6.6% without it. Irrigation is found to compensate for some of the yield losses in dry years, even when the overestimation of yield gains by AquaCrop are accounted for. The variabilities around CO2 enrichment and the possible adaptation strategies to climate change are also discussed.