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Reference Date: 15-March-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Widespread drought decreasing production potential

  2. Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2015 following timely and abundant rains

  3. Wheat imports expected to decrease in current marketing year

  4. Food inflation remains moderate

Widespread drought decreasing production potential

Planting of the 2016 winter grains started in mid‑November and concluded at the end of December. After a favourably wet start of the winter season in October, significant precipitation deficits have built up from November 2015 in several parts of Morocco, reaching 80 percent by January 2016 in some areas. Large swathes of land normally planted to cereals have been adversely affected by drought conditions. In addition, above‑average temperatures have exacerbated the impact of rainfall deficits on crop development.

Widespread rains in the last decade of February 2016 improved soil moisture conditions. Improved rainfall during the remainder of the season would partly mitigate the negative impact of early seasonal dryness but would not lead to a full production recovery.

Being largely rainfed, cereal production in Morocco is highly variable. Morocco dams cover only 15 percent of its agricultural land with rainfed agricultural production accounting for 85 percent.

The Government has allocated MAD 4.5 billion to mitigate the effects of the rainfall deficit focusing on three main areas, including support to livestock. Barley subsidy programme plans to supply 800 000 tonnes of barley to farmers at fixed subsidized prices of 2 dirhams per kg. The Government also supports the transport of this barley to remote areas. In addition, a potential compensation in the context of climate multi‑risk insurance for cereal and spring crops of around MAD 1.25 billion is also considered.

Above-average cereal crop harvested in 2015

Owing to favourable weather conditions with timely and locally‑abundant rains, about 8 million tonnes of wheat were harvested in 2015, a 57 percent increase compared to the 2014 weather‑stricken harvest. The total barley harvest, used mostly as feed, reached 3.5 million tonnes, about 106 percent higher than the previous 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 5 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.

As of 1 January 2016, Morocco estimated a total stock of soft wheat at 760 000 tonnes, durum wheat at 105 000 tonnes and barley at 102 000 tonnes. These stocks will cover domestic demand only through March, speeding up the rate of imports.

In December 2015, the Government announced that the common wheat import tariff would be decreased to 30 percent (from the previous level of 50 percent, valid from October 2015) to maintain a reference target price of MAD 2 600 per tonne beginning from 1 January 2016.

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

Food inflation remains moderate

In January 2016 (the last data available), food inflation recorded a decline of 0.2 percent on yearly basis, a slight increase from a negative 1.3 percent in November 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 market is not regulated.









Relevant links:
From GIEWS:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Maps
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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