Tapping our water expertise

By Alana Christensen

Key irrigation technology perfected and manufactured in Shepparton could soon be on its way to Morocco to further modernise the North African country’s irrigation systems.

Rubicon Water welcomed Moroccan Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch to town last week, giving him a tour of the company’s factory and offering an insight into its highly automated and advanced irrigation systems.

Mr Akhannouch said the visit followed large-scale investment in irrigation and agriculture from the Moroccan government.

‘‘Morocco is an agricultural country, 40 per cent of the population lives directly with agriculture,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve invested heavily in dams and in irrigation in general, with 1.6million hectares fitted out with irrigation equipment.

‘‘Irrigation allows great value-add to agriculture production, which we would like to develop even further and invest in new areas that are not yet being used for that and adapting further areas that may require part-irrigation.

‘‘And that’s why we’re looking at various types of technology and the experience that this land has to offer; it’s certainly interesting and relevant.

‘‘Knowing what’s been done here will enable us to really continue that discussion.’’

Agriculture contributes to about 15 per cent of Morocco’s gross domestic product, with a diverse range of farms across the country.

Grains and crops currently account for about 60 per cent of agriculture production, with the European Union the destination for about 60 per cent of the country’s exports.

Rubicon Water delivers advanced technology to optimise gravity irrigation, combining irrigation control gates and flow meters with innovative software and advanced remote-control engineering to improve the management of water in open channel distribution systems and on the farm.

The Shepparton visit came after Mr Akhannouch met with Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes on Monday, February 4.