MOROCCO – Morocco is poised to become one of the world’s top six wheat importers in 2024, according to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Food Outlook,” published on June 13. 

The report projects a 19% increase in Moroccan wheat imports next year, reaching an estimated 7.5 million tons.

This substantial spike in imports is attributed to a significant drop in domestic wheat production, which is expected to be about 40% lower than the previous year due to severe climatic conditions that have drastically reduced domestic wheat production.

The national wheat harvest is forecasted to total around 2.5 million tons, considerably below the average.

This shift will position Morocco as the sixth largest wheat importer globally, highlighting the increasing import demand from the African continent.

The report comes after the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture recently announced that the projected production of key cereals, including soft wheat, durum wheat, and barley, for the 2023/2024 agricultural season is estimated at 31.2 million quintals, marking a staggering 43% decline compared to the previous year.

The area sown also decreased significantly by 33%, now covering 2.47 million hectares, with a harvestable area of 1.85 million hectares.

According to FAS, total wheat production is estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, 45% lower than last year, while barley production is estimated at 600,000 tonnes, 52% lower than last year.

To avert a potential crisis, the North African nation is bracing for a sharp uptick in imports as domestic production slides due to adverse weather.

Wheat imports are estimated at 7.5 million tonnes, a 52% increase from Morocco’s 10-year import average, the FAS said

Wheat purchases set to hit a new record in Africa in 2024/2025

Meanwhile, the FAO report highlights that total wheat demand in Africa is anticipated to grow by 2.2%, reaching a record 55.6 million tons.

The report underscores the adverse weather conditions that have impacted wheat harvests in Morocco and other North African countries.

While Algeria’s wheat production is expected to remain stable and Tunisia might see a slight increase, Egypt’s production is projected to stay close to last year’s high levels.

Despite this stability, Egypt will remain the world’s largest wheat importer.

Globally, wheat production in 2024 is forecasted to stagnate, with a marginal decrease of 0.1% compared to the previous year, bringing the total to 787 million tons.

This stagnation is mainly due to reduced harvests in several key countries, including the European Union, Ukraine, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland.

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