Moroccan Mirages

Moroccan Mirages: Agrarian Dreams and Deceptions, 1912-1986

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 242
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  • Book Info
    Moroccan Mirages
    Book Description:

    Morocco's future is threatened politically and economically by a growing agricultural crisis. Will Swearingen locates the roots of this crisis in French dreams for the jewel" of their colonial empire. He demonstrates that, with disastrous results, contemporary Moroccan leaders are fulfilling a colonial vision, implementing policies and plans drafted during the protectorate period.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5895-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xv)
  7. Note on Transliteration
    (pp. xvi-xvii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xviii-2)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    This book examines the dreams and deceptions underlying agricultural development in Morocco. Focusing primarily on the policy-making process, it reconstructs the decision-making environments in which major policies were formulated, and explores the rationale behind policy. Its purpose is, first, to help elucidate policy making during the French protectorate period (1912–56) and analyze the continuing impact of colonial policies; second, to explain the failure of agricultural development efforts since independence—failure that is rapidly precipitating political and economic crisis.

    Conventional wisdom on European colonization and national development processes in former colonies is a surprisingly rickety construction of premature conclusions. Far...

  10. PART I: 1912–1932
    • 1 In Search of the Granary of Rome
      (pp. 15-35)

      Acquiring a colony and making a colonial venture profitable are two quite different affairs. Throughout the French protectorate period in Morocco (1912–56), there was a continuous gap between colonial aspirations and actual accomplishments. Later, political and economic factors would be the primary cause. During the first two decades, however, this gap was caused by colonial idealism and ignorance of Morocco’s environmental realities. French colonization in Morocco and the protectorate’s first agricultural policy were based on legend rather than on solid economic logic. This chapter analyzes France’s “wheat policy” in Morocco—the manifestation of a misguided colonial vision. Its purpose...

    • 2 Not a Drop of Water to the Sea
      (pp. 36-56)

      Many nineteenth-century European explorers noted Morocco’s comparatively abundant water resources. Dr. Gerhardt Rohlfs’s comments following an 1861 visit were typical: “There are many rivers in Morocco—all rising from the Atlas. . . . Nothing is positively known respecting the height of the loftiest points . . . but the natives say that the summits of those mountains are covered with perpetual snows.”¹ Most explorers’ reports were similarly sketchy. However, the Englishmen Hooker and Ball were both remarkably explicit and amazingly accurate in their appraisal of the country’s potential:

      Of the material resources of Marocco it is difficult to say...

  11. PART II: THE 1930s
    • 3 The California Dream
      (pp. 59-77)

      There are many interesting parallels between California and Morocco. Located at approximately the same latitude on the west coasts of their respective continents, with similar prevailing winds and cool ocean currents offshore, they are roughly equivalent in size and shape (Fig. 3). Each has a distinct backbone of high mountains in the east. Both have predominantly Mediterranean climates and sizable desert areas. Los Angeles and Casablanca, at nearly the same latitude, have almost identical statistics for average annual temperature, temperature range, and precipitation.¹ Similar correspondence exists between Sacramento and Meknes, Fresno and Settat, Bakersfield and Chichaoua, Riverside and Marrakech, and...

    • 4 One Million Hectares by the Year 2000
      (pp. 78-108)

      The primary motive of government irrigation policy in the early 1930s was to rescue colonial agriculture. However, a comprehensive irrigation plan had emerged by the late 1930s that envisioned irrigation development for Moroccan peasants on a vast scale. This surprising turn of events will be analyzed in the present chapter. Its purpose is to explain the genesis of the plan to put a million hectares under perennial irrigation—a plan that has served as the foundation of all subsequent irrigation development in Morocco.

      Henri Cosnier, in his 1920 report on colonial agriculture, estimated that “at least 50,000 hectares” in Morocco...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  12. PART III: 1940–1986
    • 5 Pioneering Morocco’s Development Formula
      (pp. 111-142)

      The California image, which originally guided Morocco’s orientation towards irrigation agriculture, had been subsumed by the million-hectare vision by the end of the 1930s. The protectorate administration had decided to undertake the complete harnessing of Morocco’s surface waters. Irrigation would compensate for the vagaries of precipitation and make colonial agriculture more viable. It would extend the “useful” surface of Morocco, absorb the surplus rural labor force, and “fix the native to the soil.” Above all, it would provide for the expansion of Morocco’s indigenous population. Upon completion of the irrigation plan (it was often referred to as the “century plan”...

    • 6 Fulfilling the Colonial Vision
      (pp. 143-185)

      This chapter focuses on agricultural development in Morocco since independence. Its purpose is, first, to examine the striking continuities between colonial and postcolonial policies; second, to explain how the colonial objective of irrigating a million hectares evolved into a central national development goal; and third, to analyze the present irrigation policy’s impact on Morocco.

      At independence in 1956, perhaps the most complex problem confronting Morocco was the disparity between its modern and traditional agricultural sectors. As Joly, a French geographer, noted, “The net effect of colonization has been to juxtapose a modern mechanized economy against a preserved antique economy.”¹ The...

  13. Summary and Conclusion
    (pp. 186-192)

    Government policies have transformed Morocco on a massive scale during the past three-quarters of a century. In favored areas of the coastal lowlands, relatively prosperous enclaves of modern agriculture have been created. In most of the remainder of the country, traditional agriculture has progressively deteriorated as a result of forces introduced by French colonization, population pressure, and longstanding government neglect. The country’s landscapes are artifacts of past policy decisions. Agrarian Morocco can only be comprehended through analysis of past government policies.

    A wheat policy, designed to convert Morocco into a breadbasket for France, monopolized development efforts during the first two...

  14. Epilogue: Policy by Illusion
    (pp. 193-196)

    On the occasion of his birthday, 8 July 1985, His Majesty King Hassan II addressed the Moroccan nation.¹ Among other critical matters, the king spoke of the drought that had plagued the country during the first half of the 1980s.

    Dear people. . . . We have noticed that drought strikes Morocco once every 20 years. The drought we faced during the past 4 years was exceptional, the like of which occured only in the 16th century in the era of the Sa’diyeen. . . . Now, thank God, we have emerged from the difficult 4 years and will be...

  15. Sources and Bibliography
    (pp. 197-212)
  16. Index
    (pp. 213-217)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 218-218)