MOROCCO – Morocco will need to ramp up its wheat imports to compensate for a significantly diminished crop yield this year, according to a statement from the farm-lobby group Comader cited in a Bloomberg report.

Rachid Benali, Comader Chairman highlighted the adverse impact of the prolonged dry spell, emphasizing that the country experienced a dearth of rainfall during the crucial autumn season.

The rain deficit has resulted in a wheat crop anticipated to be “a lot less” than the previous year’s 4 million tons.

In addition, the grain harvest is expected to fall substantially short of the government’s budgeted 7.5 million tons, he noted.

Benali emphasized the inevitability of increased wheat imports, citing the current relatively low prices of the commodity.

He underscored the integral nature of agriculture as a cyclical process, lamenting the suboptimal start of this year’s cycle due to unfavourable weather conditions.

The country is continuing to grapple with persistent dry conditions that have adversely affected cereal production, prompting the government to implement measures to facilitate import.

Recently, the government, through the National Grain Agency (ONICL), took measures to incentivize grain imports with subsidies as the rain deficit continues to weigh down on the country’s agriculture yield.

In a press release, ONCIL unveiled that the government is set to provide a subsidy of MAD 2.5 (US$0.25) per quintal, every two weeks for a storage capacity of up to 1 million tons of imported soft wheat.

The subsidy applies to wheat imported between February 1 and April 30, with eligible companies required to maintain the stored wheat for a minimum of three months.

Despite state efforts to diversify the economy, agriculture still accounts for 12% of GDP. With a series of droughts plaguing the nation in recent years, local supplies have been severely hampered, exacerbating farm-job losses and subsequently elevating the unemployment rate to 13% in 2023.

Planting challenges extend beyond wheat to encompass other vital crops such as grains and sugar, Benali added, compounding the agricultural woes faced by the nation.

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