Morocco's second-largest reservoir drying up: comment

Morocco experiences devastating drought linked to climate change.

Profile picture of George Smeeton

By George Smeeton

Last updated:

Commenting on the news that Morocco's second-largest reservoir is drying up [1], Amber Sawyer, Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

“As Morocco experiences devastating drought linked to climate change, farmers there are struggling to make ends meet. Though North Africa seems faraway, UK consumers depend on Moroccan farmers for a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Last year a third (32%) of our tomatoes and more than two thirds (43%) of our raspberries and Brussels sprouts (41%) came from Morocco. While we can grow some of these crops in the UK, extreme weather has been wreaking havoc here UK too. British farmers have just experienced the wettest 18 months since records began [2], which has devastated multiple crops including sprouts [3,4]. We also get produce from Morocco that we can’t grow here, like a quarter of our mandarins and around a tenth of our clementines and watermelons.

“The UK imports around half its food, half of which we can’t grow here. As climate change worsens, the threat to our food supply chains – both at home and overseas – will grow.

“Getting to net zero emissions by 2050 is essential to stop these impacts getting worse. Plus, farmers need help to adapt to the extremes we are already seeing. The UK Government does provide overseas aid, but this may need to increase as extreme weather worsens. Doing so will protect vulnerable farmers and keep their produce on our shelves at affordable prices.

“Climate change has already added £361 to the average household food bill in the last couple of years.” [5]

Notes to editors:

  1. Morocco drought: Satellite images show vital Al Massira reservoir is shrinking:
  2. England drenched after the wettest 18 months since records began in 1836:
  3. ‘Our yields are going to be appalling’: one of wettest winters in decades hits England’s farms:
  4. Flooded farmers race to harvest vegetables before they rot as supermarkets warn of smaller veg:
  5. ECIU: Climate, Fossil Fuels and UK Food Prices: 2023:

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email:

Related reports