MOROCCO – Morocco’s National Interprofessional Office for Cereals and Legumes (ONICL) has announced that the country will offer subsidies to import soft wheat from the period of October 1 to December 31.
According to ONICL, the Finance and Agriculture Ministries have already approved the import scheme noting that the subsidy details will be published in a separate note.
The move comes after Morocco’s market watchdog for grains revised grain subsidies for imported wheat in a bid to incentivize wheat importers to turn to cost-efficient grain suppliers.
In June, ONICL released a circular providing that the subsidy program will support importers monthly covering the difference between the cost of wheat and the reference import price of MAD 270 (US$27) per quintal.
According to the circular, between July 1 and September 30, 2023, subsidies will be granted to facilitate the import of considerate quantities of milling wheat, which can reach up to 2.5 million metric tons.
For wheat traders, the move was an attempt to facilitate imports of cheaper Black Sea grain, though nearer western European suppliers led by France have a shipping advantage.
Some pointed out that Western European suppliers, notably France, have a geographical advantage in terms of proximity, which could, however, influence their choices.
The policy change came as Morocco is recovering from last year’s severe drought which directly affected agricultural production.
In the 2022-2023 agricultural season, Morocco announced a cereal production of 55.1 million quintals – which was a significant increase of 61.8% compared to the previous season.
To address the situation, Morocco set raft measures expected to provide a much-needed boost to Morocco’s agricultural industry, safeguarding food security and strengthening the economy.
In addition, the country announced changes to its wheat import subsidies to encourage companies to bring more wheat pouches from other markets.
Recently, the National Federation of Mills President, Moulay Abdelkader Alaoui said that the reopening of doors for imports from Russia will contribute to boosting Morocco’s position as diversifying its sources in terms of wheat imports.
In September, Russian ambassador to Morocco Vladimir Baibakov stressed that Russia is ready to supply the North African country with wheat at reasonable prices.
Baibakov stressed that the two countries “buy goods that are most demanded on their markets from each other.”