Orchard management and inventory of Moroccan local varieties of fig (Ficus carica L.) in four main production sites, Chefchaouen, El Jadida, Ouezzane and Taounate provinces
The present study conducted in four production sites belonging to the provinces of Chefchaouen (Beni Ahmed), El Jadida (Ouled Frej), Ouezzane (Zoumi) and Taounate (Bouhouda) aims to characterize the local fig varieties, to explore typology of farms, training orchard management and to identify varieties of value for future projects. To achieve these goals, we conducted a field survey and prospection on a sample of 72 farms in the sites considered. The characterization of varieties was supplemented by laboratory analysis of leaf and fruit samples. Results showed that farms having more than 5 ha represented 20% in Ouled Frej, 11% in Bouhouda and Beni Ahmed and only 5% in Zoumi. The age of fig-tree orchards averaged 15 years in Ouled Frej, 37 years in Zoumi, and Beni Ahmed and 43 years in Bouhouda. Orchard management is more intensive in Ouled Frej by the practice of irrigation and the use of fertilizers and other chemicals for plant protection because almost all fruit is destined for fresh market. However, in the other sites located in mountainous areas, figs are mostly marketed as dried fruit because orchards are landlocked. There were 43 varieties identified, 3 in Ouled Frej, 11 in Beni Ahmed, 11 in Bouhouda and 19 in Zoumi. The Principal component analysis (PCA) and agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) have shown similarities between some varieties (synonymous). The varieties recommended for future fig tree development programs are Messari (Homran / Lamtel / Mtioui), Fassi, Ghouddane, Ghani and Lamdar for the production of the first crop fresh figs; Messari, Ghouddane, Fassi. Lassoune, Masfah, Aouad and Hamri for the production of fresh autumn figs and Nabout, Koté, Masfah, Messari, Ghouddane and Fassi for production of autumn dried figs.
Key words: fig tree, variety, drying, cultural practices, marketing, common fig.