Morocco Seeks to Diversify Wheat Suppliers
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The 2023 season started very late due to rain delays, and in some areas, sowing did not finish until the end of December 2022. Farmers report that although rainfall is late and below average, it is sufficient to make a healthy crop. The MY 2023/24 total area planted to common Wheat, durum, and Barley is projected to reach 3.8 million hectares (HA), reflecting an increase of approximately 8 percent compared to the previous MY 2022/23. However, this figure remains roughly 9 percent lower than the five-year average (4.2 million HA) due to the increasing cost of inputs and recurring drought, which has decreased planting.
Following delayed seeding in late 2022/early 2023, Wheat and Barley production in Morocco progressed under below-average weather conditions. Cumulative rainfall registered 270 mm from October 1, 2022, to March 17, 2023, compared to 186 mm in the previous period. However, the crop is one month behind schedule due to late planting and will likely face high temperatures during Grain fill. Farmers report that crop success for this season requires favorable weather conditions (rainfall and temperature below 80,6 °F through March and April). The vegetative development index confirms that the crop has developed under below-average conditions.
Most Wheat and Barley production zones have rebounded in MY 2023/24, except for the South (Marrakech and SoussMassa regions). Post forecasts MY 2023/24 production at 2.45 MMT for common Wheat, 1.35 MMT for durum Wheat, and 1.75 MMT for Barley, representing a solid recovery from a disastrous 2022 crop but still short of the 2021 harvest.
Post expects total domestic consumption to rise with population growth. Therefore, Post estimates MY 2023/24 consumption at 10.65 MMT, or 288 kg per capita, based on a population of 36.3 million. Common Wheat represents nearly 70 percent of Wheat consumption in urban areas and 66 percent in rural areas.
Barley is consumed mainly as animal feed, and consumption rates vary depending on local availability and pasture conditions. For MY 2023/24, Post forecasts Barley total consumption at 1.7 MMT. The Government of Morocco estimates cattle, sheep, and goat populations will remain stable.
Moroccan Wheat, flour, and bread prices are politically sensitive and are strictly managed.
- Morocco’s National Inter-Professional Office for Cereals and Legumes (ONICL) varies MFN tariff rates throughout the year to control Moroccan typical Wheat prices. ONICL aims to maintain bread Wheat prices between $260/MT and $280/MT.
- ONICL subsidizes common Wheat flour, known as “National Flour,” to support low-income consumers. In the calendar year 2023, the quota was set at 600,000 MT, unchanged from 2022.
- Common Wheat prices are falling and returning to levels from before the war in Ukraine.
MY 2023/24 Wheat imports are forecast at 7 MMT, 6.6 percent lower compared to MY 2022/23 due to anticipated production. Morocco is seeking to diversify Wheat suppliers, primarily due to instability from Black Sea suppliers. Post also expects increased competition from the European Union and Brazil in MY 2023/24.
Wheat and Barley Import in Morocco
The Government of Morocco has announced its intention to implement a 135 percent tariff on Wheat starting May 31, 2023, instead of the usual April 30, due to an expected late harvest. The tariff increase on May 31, 2023, was intended to support domestic Wheat prices during harvest. The Government of Morocco took an unprecedented step in 2022 and did not implement a Wheat tariff due to low production and rising prices.
Weather conditions and feed consumption heavily influence Moroccan Barley imports. During drought, Moroccan imports surge, while during periods of abundant rain, imports fall as grazing opportunities increase. For MY 2023/24, Post forecasts Barley imports to reach 0.3 MMT to accommodate domestic consumption due to good vegetative growth for grazing and production during this season.
Other sources: USDA
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