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Morocco: Wheat production expected to drop by about 70 percent

Morocco’s production of all kinds of wheat (soft wheat, hard wheat and barley) is expected to drop by 69 percent during the 2022/2021 season compared to the previous season, at a time when the country suffers from a great dependence on wheat imports, according to the electronic newspaper “Hespress”.

Morocco imported 805 thousand tons of wheat last January, compared to 338 thousand tons in the same period of 2021. The Makhzen annually imports from abroad, especially from the United States of America, France, Ukraine, Canada and India, between 60 and 75 million quintals of soft and hard wheat, barley, and corn.

The expert in social economy, Omar Al-Katani, confirmed that the Makhzen may have to resort, in order to avoid the food crisis, to buying wheat at high prices from abroad.

The expert considered, in a statement to the same electronic newspaper, that the state is supposed to change the consumption pattern of Moroccans, because the current trend requires, for example, feeding cows with barley in order to produce meat, thus wasting huge quantities of wheat components.

He expressed his regret that the Makhzen was clinging to some export-based industrial plans “without striving to achieve self-sufficiency.”, adding that “The Moroccan farmers, who make up 40 percent of Morocco’s population, should have been educated and invested in.”

Professionals in the sector of bakeries and pastries in Morocco fear that the wheat crisis will affect some basic materials in the bread industry, amid weak local production of wheat and the scarcity of global supplies.

Noureddine Lviv, head of the Federal Council of the Moroccan Federation of Bakeries and Sweets, told the same newspaper, “The weakness of local production of wheat and the cessation of its global export, are two factors that will have an impact on bread made from wheat and other ingredients.”

He added that “the rise in the price of wheat in the market will undoubtedly have an impact on the bakery sector in Morocco,” considering that government support for mills “is insufficient and does not reach bakeries directly”, especially since other components “witness successive increases, such as yeast, the cost of energy, water, electricity, wages,  and social costs for workers.”.

For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in a recent report, expected that Morocco’s demand for wheat imports, especially from Canada and India, would increase by 5 percent over the estimated level for 2021-2022.

In its latest statement, Bank Al-Maghrib expected that the growth rate would drop to 0.7 percent during 2022 due to the “significant decline in the cereal crop during the current agricultural season,” whose production, according to the Central Bank’s forecast, does not exceed 25 million quintals, instead of 103.2 million quintals recorded a year ago.

Bank Al-Maghrib also expects that inflation will continue its rapid growth, which it started in 2021, during the current year, and that its main component will rise from 1.7 percent to 4.7 percent.

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