MOROCCO – The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) project a significant spike in imports for Morocco’s 2024-25 season due to a severe drought that has severely impacted the country’s wheat and barley production.

Rainfall has been below average since the end of January, causing a slowdown in plant growth and development. Rain in February and March was too late to help the crops in the south, the FAS said.

As a result, wheat and barley yields are expected to fall well below average. 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

According to the report, barley imports are also projected to soar, with an estimated 1.5 million tons expected to flow into the country, up from 1.2 million tons in the prior year.

The USDA report comes after a statement from the farm-lobby group Comader, recently, reported that Morocco will need to ramp up its wheat imports to compensate for a significantly diminished crop yield this year.

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.

Meanwhile, domestic importers are attempting to diversify their procurement strategies in response to mounting instability and payment issues with Black Sea suppliers.

In addition, the government, through the National Grain Agency (ONICL), has taken measures to incentivize grain imports with subsidies.

In the previous season, a substantial 80% of Morocco’s wheat imports originated from European Union nations.

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