Purchases of wheat, barley drive up Morocco’s food import bill

MOROCCO—Purchases of wheat and barley contributed significantly to the rise in Morocco’s food imports in the first five months of this year, in a context marked by the repercussions of drought and war.

The fall 2021 Moroccan planting season was one of the driest starts in 30 years, resulting in reduced planted area for grain.

The Ministry of Agriculture forecasts total wheat and barley production at 3.2 million metric tons, about 62 percent down from the previous year’s crop (10.2 million metric tons).

In response to low production, MY2021/22 wheat and Barley imports have been expected to increase sharply.

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It was evident from the data of the monthly report of the Exchange Office that the bill for imported food products increased by 31.8 percent in the first five months of this year, to US$ 10 billion.

Barley contributed greatly to the increase with purchases of it having amounted to US$ 814 million in five months, from US$88.4 million in the same period last year, representing an increase of US$ 724 million.

Similarly, wheat purchases increased by 14.8 percent at the end of May, reaching US$ 2.6 billion, according to the exchange office.

The bill for some materials involved in the food commodities industry rose by 33.2 percent at the end of May, to reach US$ 958 million.

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However, In the first five months of this year, exports of agricultural products and food industries reached US$10.9 billion, registering an increase of 24 percent.

The EU continues to be Morocco’s main trading partner and an important source of foreign currency revenue. The UK announced that its agri-food imports from Morocco saw a 40% increase since January 2021.

About 25% of tomatoes come from Morocco. Meanwhile, the UK imports around 20% of soft fruits from the North African country.

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Morocco and the UK share strong diplomatic relations marked by cooperation in different fields, including trade. In 2019, Morocco and the UK signed the Association Agreement in London, aiming to preserve bilateral ties between the two countries post-Brexit. Since Brexit, business and trade cooperation have been flourishing between the two countries.

Morocco’s exports to the UK amounted to US $568.77 million in 2020, while UK’s exports to Morocco were estimated at US$782.03 million during 2021.

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