Festival Lifestyle

Watermelon festival: another way to popularize good agricultural practices

The “Nalsya” Foundation for Development, Environment and Social Action organized the tenth edition of the Watermelon Festival in the municipality of Mnasra in the province of Kenitra, an event aimed at promoting a fruit with proven nutritional qualities.

Since its creation, the “Nalsya” Foundation has made awareness-raising and the dissemination of good practices in the agricultural sector its main focus. It recently organized the tenth edition of the Watermelon Festival, under the theme “Enhancing the value of watermelon for agricultural development”, an
event with agricultural, cultural, festive and environmental dimensions aimed at promoting, at the local, national and international levels, a fruit with proven nutritional qualities. This is done within the framework of an integrated and sustainable vision that takes into account the development of watermelon culture, environmental preservation and adaptation to climate change. Grown in hot climates, watermelon is particularly refreshing and thirst-quenching, as the
benefits of watermelon are well
established.
It contains 92% water and thus ensures a valuable water supply. In addition, it contributes effectively to the dietary intake of certain vitamins. For example, a 200 g serving represents more than 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, and nearly 5% for vitamins B1 and B6. The supply of various minerals and trace elements also contributes to satisfying the body’s needs.
“In addition to the cultural and artistic dimension of this event, our objective is to carry out actions in favour of watermelon producers and the associations concerned in the Gharb, Loukkos and Zemmour regions, in order to make them aware of the importance of the choice of plants, the rational use of fertilizers and the adoption of modern means of irrigation,” explains Abdelkrim Namane, director of the Nalsya Foundation and director of the Festival. He added: “Our main concern is to protect consumer health, while contributing to the development of a national agricultural sector that is constantly evolving over time”, and in
this respect, this Festival has been distinguished by the organization of visits to watermelon farms and awareness meetings in the presence of agricultural experts and managers.

In their
interventions, farmers asked questions about the quality of watermelon varieties, the techniques to be used to preserve the environment and increase yields
.
They did not fail to express their need in terms of continuous training to promote their knowledge in this field.
It should be noted that Morocco exports 98% of its watermelon production to the European Union compared to only 1.5% to Africa. Abdelkrim Namane expressed the wish that Morocco should export more of this product to the African continent, as part of South-South cooperation, knowing that the Kingdom is in the Top 30 of the largest watermelon producers in the world. It ranks 24th in the world, with an annual production of 437,061 tonnes. It is also ranked second in terms of productivity, with an average of 4.54 kg/m². In 2016, world watermelon production amounted to more than 117 million tonnes, according to data from “FaoStat”, the Statistical Agency of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The world area devoted to watermelon production was more than 3.5 hectares in 2016, with an average yield per m² of 3.34 kilos.
China is the world’s largest producer of this fruit, growing 67.54% of the world’s production, or 79 million tonnes annually. Its average yield is relatively high: 4.2 kg/m².