003 - Agricultural Opportunities and Challenges in Arid Environments

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Agricultural opportunities and challenges in arid areas, including the distinction between aridity and infertility, irrigation access, salinization risk and land ownership.

Key Concepts

There are possibilities for agricultural development in arid places. The demand for certain crops creates power over the approaches used to farm and these have environmental and social impacts.


Key Terminology

Define the words above by using the useful links below and your Freshwater textbook by Codrington.

Useful Links

Activity One - Read

There is a difference between aridity and infertility and if often comes down to the amount of rainfall an area receives. When travelling down the Draa Valley in Morocco that area was technically classified as hyper arid but dates were being grown.



Adapted from - Mission 2012

Activity Two - Watch

One of the key ways to bring the desert back to life is to bring water to the desert. The traditional method of doing this was flood irrigation which was first used 3500BC in Mesopotamia. Fortunately are technology has advanced since then but not everyone has access to it due to cost. While the syllabus point doesn't ask for an example it is good to discuss irrigation using specific examples.

Useful Resources

How Saudi Arabia is Turning Desert in Farmland


Activity Three - Comprehension

Answer the following questions on salinisation using the text book in the 'Useful Resource' box below.

Useful Resource

Activity Four - Draa Valley, Morocco

We visited Morocco for a reason and the key one was to be able to use it to create detailed examples of the different opportunities and challenges that arid environments provide. You are now going to record enough notes to be able to write an essay on farming in the desert using the Draa Valley, Morocco as your detailed example. Below are a variety of resources that will help you to develop your detailed example - don't be scared of the number of pages in one of the resources! For you detailed example you will need to include the following things:

Activity Five - Land Ownership

For areas that rely on farming for their main source of income land ownership is critical for a families success. In the past it has been men who have owned the land in Morocco and women have little say about it. This is slowly changing. Read the article in the 'Useful Resource' box and write notes on the revolutionary changes that are currently taking place in Morocco.

Exam Style Question

“Agriculture in hot, arid areas is difficult.” Discuss this statement. [10 marks]

Google Document

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com