Morocco to import 30,000 heads of cattle from Brazil and Uruguay as a lifeline to the struggling red meat sector

Morocco – The president of the interprofessional Federation of Red Meats, Mohammed Karimine announced that the Kingdom expects to import 30,000 head of cattle from Brazil and Uruguay by mid-February.

Due to the impacts of inflation, the supply of a large number of food products has dwindled specifically the red meat supply.

Data from FAO reports that Moroccans consume 17kg of meat per capita per year (2018) while the amount produced was 603,000 tonnes per annum.

As Morocco is one of the largest consumers of beef per capita in Africa according to FAO, domestic production does not meet the demand, necessitating the need for imports to enhance the availability of red meat to local markets.

30,000 head of cattle from Brazil and Uruguay are expected in various ports of entry into the kingdom between February 15th and 20th.

This importation serves as a lifeline for the red meat sector which is in the midst of a decline caused by a conglomeration of obstacles in the industry.

Some of the challenges include the effects of prolonged drought and the rise of feed prices which consequently led to an increase in production costs.

A kilogram of beef in the kingdom currently trades at 110 dirhams ($10.8) against an average rate of 70 dirhams ($6.8) in October 2022.

“The first cattle boats imported from Brazil are expected to arrive in 15 to 20 days. Above all, we hope that this lot will help curb the uptrend,” said Mr Mohammed Karimine.

With regard to the uphill battle in the red meat sector, the government of Morocco has put in place other measures to mitigate the challenge of insufficient meat in the local markets.

They recently extended the suspension of red meat import duties in that meat imports with a minimum weight of 500 kilograms and a quota of 200,000 will not be subject to import duties.

This waiver was introduced last year (January 2022- December 2022) and was recently extended to cover the agricultural year January 2023 – December 2023.

The Kingdom also launched a nearly 10 billion dirhams ($1 billion) aid program to help its agriculture industry, which has been struggling since the onset of the drought, according to Africa News.

The emergency program “aims to mitigate the effects of delay in rainfall, to alleviate the impact on agricultural activity and to provide assistance to the farmers and livestock breeders affected”, the royal palace said in a statement.

The World Bank also chipped in to support Morocco’s food security campaign with the approval of a US$180 million loan to support resilient and sustainable agriculture in the nation.

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