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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 30-October-2017


  1. Above-average cereal production gathered in 2017

  2. Wheat imports to decrease in current marketing year owing to ample domestic production

  3. Food inflation remains negative

Above-average cereal production gathered in 2017

Land preparation for sowing of the 2018 grain crop is currently underway under favourable weather conditions. Winter wheat and barley will be sown from early November.

Harvesting of the 2017 winter grains finished in July. While parts of the country experienced dry weather conditions up to mid-November 2016, which delayed plantings in some areas, good precipitation later in the season replenished soil moisture, improving yield prospects. The total area planted with winter cereals in the 2017/18 marketing season was 5.11 million hectares, compared to 3.6 million hectares in the previous year.

Overall, some 7.1 million tonnes of wheat were harvested in 2017, an increase of over 163 percent compared to the previous year’s weather-stricken harvest and 33 percent above the five-year average. Barley output in 2017 amounted to 2.5 million tonnes, four times as much as in the previous year and 30 percent above the five-year average. At 9.9 million tonnes, the 2017 cereal production exceeded the five-year average by over 30 percent, but remained 14 percent short of the record-breaking cereal output of 11.8 million tonnes gathered in 2015.

The Government supports wheat production by establishing a reference price for purchasing local wheat (MAD 2 800 per tonne in 2017, equivalent to USD 286 per tonne) and by providing a storage premium to store wheat in licensed facilities.

Being largely rainfed, country’s cereal production is highly variable. Local dams cover only 15 percent of agricultural land, with rainfed agricultural production accounting for 85 percent of aggregate output.

Wheat imports to decrease in 2017/18 owing to ample domestic production

The country relies heavily on wheat imports to cover its consumption needs. Cereal import requirements in 2017/18 (July/June) are forecast at 7.7 million tonnes, 7 percent down on 2016/17, of which wheat imports would account for about 4.5 million tonnes. European Union and Black Sea countries supply most of the common “soft” wheat, while Canada is the traditional supplier of “durum” wheat.

In May 2017, the Government announced the increase of the import duty on “soft” wheat from 30 percent to 135 percent. The customs duty will last until 31 December 2017. The country has traditionally used tariffs on wheat imports to protect local producers from foreign competition and revises the duties on a periodic basis depending on the supply/demand situation in the country.

Due to excess milling capacity in the country, limited quantities of wheat flour are exported to neighbouring countries.

Food inflation remains negative

According to the last data available, the food inflation in September 2017 recorded a 0.7 percent decrease on a yearly basis. Food inflation has been negative since March 2017. In 2016, food inflation ranged from 0 to 4 percent. 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 some 650 000 tonnes of the “national flour”, a common wheat of standard quality used to make flour for the low income consumers. The amount of subsidized flour decreased in June 2017, down from 1 million tonnes subsidized in 2016. The Government covers the difference between the actual price and the guaranteed milling price. The “durum” wheat market is not regulated.

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