Reference Date: 14-December-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2015 following timely and abundant rains
Wheat imports expected to decrease
Food inflation remains moderate
Planting of the 2016 winter grains started in mid-November and should conclude by the end of December. After a favourably wet start of the winter season in October, a short-term dryness persisted across the country’s growing regions, reducing top soil moisture for winter grain establishment.
Above-average cereal crop harvested in 2015
Harvesting of 2015 winter grains was concluded in mid-July. Being largely rainfed, cereal production in Morocco is highly variable. Favourable weather conditions with timely and locally abundant rains maintained good yield prospects. While in early May excessively hot weather prevailed in the region and threatened grain filling, winter crops in Morocco were generally unaffected by the heat as crops were already matured or approaching maturity.
About 8 million tonnes of wheat were harvested, a 57 percent increase compared to the 2014 weather-stricken harvest as well as the above average. Total barley harvest, used mostly as feed, reached 3.5 million tonnes, about 106 percent higher than last year and some 65 percent above the five‑year average.
As part of the Plan Maroc Vert agricultural strategy, the Government continues to implement measures supporting cereal production. Measures include establishing a reference price for local wheat purchases, storage premium as well as subsidies for certified seeds (MAD 500 per tonne), farm machinery purchases (20 to 50 percent of the cost), irrigation equipment (ranging from 50 to 70 percent of the cost) and soil testing to optimize fertilizer application. Agricultural insurance schemes are also supported.
Wheat imports expected to decrease in 2015/16 owing to ample domestic production
Morocco relies heavily on wheat imports from the international market to cover its consumption needs. Morocco’s cereal imports in 2015/16 (July/June) are forecast at 4.9 million tonnes, 30 percent down on 2014/15, of which wheat imports account for about 2 million tonnes. EU and Black Sea countries supply most of the common (soft) wheat, while Canada is the traditional supplier of durum wheat.
In October 2015, the Government announced that the common wheat import tariff would be decreased to 50 percent for the price band up to MAD 1 000 per tonne (from the previous level of 75 percent, valid from May 2015) and 2.5 percent for the price band above MAD 1 000 per tonne, beginning from 1 November 2015. Durum wheat imports are subject to 2.5 percent duty.
Due to excess milling capacity in Morocco, limited quantities of wheat flour are exported to neighbouring countries.
Food inflation remains moderate
In October 2015 (the last data available), food inflation increased by 3.4 percent on yearly basis, a slight increase from 2.5 percent in May 2015. In spite of the country’s high import dependency rate, the impact of the changes in international prices on domestic prices is mitigated by Government subsidies of more than 1 million tonnes of “national flour”, a common wheat of standard quality used to make flour for the low‑income consumers. The Government covers the difference between the actual price and guaranteed mill price. Durum wheat is not regulated.