the impact of the crisis on cereal imports in Morocco

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which for more than six decades has been supporting Morocco’s development in the food and agriculture sector, recently indicated in a report that global wheat production is expected to fall sharply in 2022 to record levels, noting that “Morocco is one of the countries that will be strongly affected by this decline”.

The UN body’s document, which was released on Thursday, found that “wheat production levels in Morocco were ‘encouraging’ but were hampered by a lack of rainfallnoting that “precipitation has been significantly below average in Morocco, where total cultivated areas have decreased”. Morocco’s 2021-2022 cereal harvest, according to our Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, is estimated at 32 million quintals (Mqx), a decrease of 69% compared to to the record-breaking 2019-20 campaign. In question as mentioned above, the low rainfall, but also their poor distribution. Indeed, the agricultural campaign of the current financial year was hit by low rainfall which reached 188 mm at the end of April, a drop of 42% compared to the previous campaign (289 mm) for the same period.

This rainfall was characterized by poor temporal and territorial distribution (60% of production comes from favorable areas of the regions of Fez-Meknes and Rabat-Salé-Kénitra). The cereal production estimates also result from the reduction in the areas sown, around 3.6 million hectares for the 3 cereal species (i.e. a loss of 1.6 million hectares), indicates a note from the Ministry of Agriculture. Agriculture, which specifies that the harvest of soft wheat is 17.6 million Qx, that of durum wheat at 7.5 million Qx and 6.9 million Qx for barley. Also, the report states that “Morocco is expected to increase its demand for wheat imports, especially from Canada and India, as data shows that the country needs 5.4 million tonnes, an increase of 5% (2.6 million tons) compared to the estimated level for 2021-2022”.

The “FAO” stressed that “Morocco will increase its imports, since its current needs amount to 1.5 million tons, while it will need 6.2 million tons, in order to compensate for the significant drop expected the level of national production. The value of the increased import bill in 2022 is projected to be around $51 billion, due to higher prices, compared to $49 billion in 2021. The report also states that “the The outlook for global food imports is poised to set a new record high of $1.8 trillion this year, but most of this expected increase is due to higher prices and transport costs rather than the volume of food imports. imports themselves.

World wheat production in 2022 is also forecast to decline by 0.8% from the record level recorded in 2021, to reach 771 million tonnes. This represents the first decline in four years. The UN report warned that wheat production is declining every year in Australia, India and to a lesser degree also in Morocco, noting that “the global food import bill is set to set a new record this year”. According to data from the same report, least developed countries are expected to experience a 5% contraction in their food import bills in the current fiscal year. Sub-Saharan Africa and the group of net food-importing developing countries are expected to experience an increase in their total bill and to suffer from their costs despite the reduction in the quantities imported.

The report notes that “these indicators are alarming from a food security perspective. This indicates that importers will find it difficult to finance higher international costs, which could lead to a decline in their resilience to rising prices. The FAO report also states that “Given the sharp rise in input prices, weather concerns and growing uncertainties in emerging markets regarding the conflict in Ukraine, the organization’s (FAO) forecasts clearly demonstrate that food markets could decline and global food import bills could reach record highs.

To this end, the United Nations has proposed the implementation of measures at the global level to facilitate the financing of food imports in order to support the balance of payments of low-income countries which depend more than others on food imports. to protect their food security.

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