Morocco: Soybean Oil Accounts for 90% of the Total VegOil 


Jul 10, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Several annual Oilseed species have been grown in Morocco: Sunflower, Rapeseed, groundnut, Soybean, sesame, and safflower. Their cultivation area has declined since the 1990s following several factors, particularly the abolition of guaranteed minimum prices and liberalization of the sector. Sunflower has always been the main Oil crop, but its growing area decreased from more than 200,000 ha in 1993 to only 22,207 ha in 2019.

Rapeseed is being re-introduced, taking advantage of several efforts for its development and extension. Since 2013, the Oilseed sector has benefited from several Green Morocco Plan strategy support measures. Thus, based on data published by Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture, the area of Sunflowers increased from 15,406 ha in 2013 to 22,207 ha in 2019, an increase of 44%. As for Rapeseed, its area increased from 528 ha in 2013 to 10,304 ha in 2019.

Sunflower production increased from 17,638 tons in 2013 to 29,456 tons during the 2019 harvest year; meanwhile, Rapeseed production has increased from 590 tons to 9,093 tons. During the same period, average yields gradually increased to 13.3 quintals/ha (+16%) for Sunflowers and decreased by 21% for Rapeseed. The results recorded remain far below the objectives initially set out in the program due to several reasons, in particular climatic conditions (spring drought), competition from other more profitable crops, sparrow (Passer spp.) damages, and sometimes the use of non-certified local seeds. The new strategy, “Green Generation 2020–2030,” intends to give a new impetus to this sector, aiming to improve coverage of needs through local Oilseeds by 2030.

According to data from the High Commissioner for Planning, Sunflower, and Rapeseed areas are mainly located in Rabat-Salé-Kenitra (16,000 ha), Fes-Meknes (8000 ha), and Casablanca-Settat (2000 ha) during the 2019/2020 crop year. There are two crushing units and five Vegetable Oil refining plants in Morocco. These plants account for a crushing capacity of 620,000 tons/year and a refining capacity of 770,000 tons/year. Crushing quantities fluctuate yearly, depending on market conditions and national production, but typically, the average amount of crushed seeds does not exceed 60,000 tons per year. The country relies heavily on imports to bridge the widening gap between supply and demand.

In 2020, the Edible Oil per capita consumption was estimated as 15 kg/capita per year, with total local consumption of Vegetable Oils evaluated at 550,000 tons for about 36 million inhabitants. It is in line with the average for developing countries and reflects changing urban lifestyles and increases in per capita income. According to IOC data for 2020/2021, the consumption of olive Oil in Morocco reached 140,000 tons in 2020/2021 for a production of 160,000 tons.

Although Morocco is the world’s fifth largest producer of olive Oil, its consumption per capita and year (about 4 liters) remains relatively low compared to other Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, with 12 l/capita per year. Encouraging household consumption of olive Oil in Morocco would help to reduce the country’s high dependence on Vegetable Oils extracted from Oilseeds. This measure will necessitate increasing the production of olive Oil and offering local consumers quality Oils at affordable prices.

Oilseeds Import in Morocco

Locally produced Oilseeds barely cover 2% of national Vegetable Oil needs. The rest comes from an imported raw material (95% from crude Oils and less than 3% from Oilseeds, mainly Sunflower). In 2019/2020, Morocco was among the top 10 Soybean Oil importers, representing more than 88.5% of its Vegetable Oil imports, followed by Sunflower Oil (11%) and Rapeseed Oil (0.5%).

With an average annual growth rate of 3% per year, the total imports in Vegetable Oils have increased from 405,000 tons in 2007 to 616,000 tons in 2020, an increase of 52%. According to AgFlow data, Morocco imported 27,000 tons of Soybean Oil from Argentina in Jan-May 2023, followed by Spain (6,000 tons). In 2016-2020, the leading suppliers of Morocco were the EU, followed by Argentina and the United States, and the rest came from Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia.

Other sources: OCL JOURNAL

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