MOROCCO – Morocco’s imports of soft wheat are expected to stand at between 4.5 million and 5 million tonnes next year due to drought, Yann Lebeau, head of the Maghreb-Africa mission at France’s wheat professionals group Intercéreales, told Reuters.
The anticipated import level for next season would be higher than the average of 3 million tonnes recorded over the last decade and is explained by the severe drought that hit the country this year.
Drought has slashed Morocco’s 2022 cereals harvest by 67% to 3.4 million tonnes. Soft wheat, the main staple in the country reached 1.89 million tonnes, down more than 65% year-on-year.
In the country, dependence on rainfed wheat leads, in drought years, to great instability in production and in fact to greater use of imports.
France alone has exported over 1 million tonnes of soft wheat to Morocco this summer, and is expected to have sold up to 2.5 million tonnes to the North African country by the end of the year, said Lebeau. This would represent nearly 40% of total Moroccan wheat purchases.
For French exporters, the expected jump in imports offers the opportunity to consolidate a little more in Morocco, which has suspended customs duties on the basic product since last January.
In the North African country, the soft wheat import bill reached US$1.6 billion over the first 7 months of the year according to official data.
As a reminder, in Morocco, common wheat accounts for 70% of wheat consumption in urban areas and 66% of human use in rural areas.
Faced with a sharp cut in local production and notable disruptions in supply chains from Russia and Ukraine due to the ongoing war, Morocco has been looking for alternative markets to meet domestic demands and protect citizens’ purchasing power.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE