Suspension by Russia of the ICMN: What impact on Morocco?

Russia’s suspension of theagreement on theBlack Sea Grain Initiative (BCNI), allowing Ukraine to safely ship grain from its Black Sea ports amid a months-long war is set to drive up costs and hurt countries in the North Africa and particularly in Morocco.

Indeed, analysts say ships carrying grain to and from Ukraine without Russian protection would put additional pressure on world markets already strained by grain shortages. This Monday, Ukraine said that a dozen of its ships had sailed all the same, while initially more than 200 ships, loaded and ready to travel, some of which to the Kingdom, were blocked after the announcement of the week. -end by Russia of its suspension of the agreement (Russia-UN-Turkey).

The historic agreement had enabled the crucial export of grain from Ukraine and Russia, the world’s main suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other foodstuffs. Shipments were made in particular to African countries, mainly those in the North (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, etc.), the Middle East and certain regions of Asia where many are already fighting against hunger. Indeed, in the countries North Africa and the Middle East, bread is an essential part of the diet of the citizens of these countries, there is no alternative to rice as in Asia or sorghum in Africa.

Russia is holding back the risk of leaving Ukraine without its protection after Moscow alleged a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said implementing the grain deal was “hardly feasible” in a situation where “Russia talks about the impossibility of ensuring safe navigation in the mentioned areas” of the Black Sea. Russia’s move could mean higher food prices for a world increasingly concerned about food security.

This raises the “specter” of unrest in places where bread prices fueled the Arab Spring uprisings and in Morocco long before, with this movement known to be the “koumira” revolt and the riots of June 1981 during the years of lead that marked the contemporary history of Morocco. Today, ” the wheat is there, but it should just come at a very high price said Joseph Glauber, senior researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington.

The grain deal had lowered global food prices by around 15% from their peak in March. According to the UN, the UN secretary-general had urged Russia and Ukraine to renew the agreement when it expires on November 19. But, following Russia’s announcement, wheat futures jumped more than 5% on Monday in Chicago, while major oil futures rose in Asian markets. With tight global markets, prices will rise and countries like the Kingdom will have to pay more to import grain and other fossil fuels.

We remember that before the grain agreement was negotiated, the United States and Europe had accused Russia of starving vulnerable regions of the world by refusing exports. Since the deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin had claimed that most of the grain exported was destined for Europe rather than the world’s hungriest countries. Russia asked on Monday about a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue, while offering to provide up to 500,000 tons of grain for free “to the poorest countries in the next four months. “.

Sanctions on Russia do not affect its grain exports and the wartime side deal is instead intended to pave the way for food and fertilizer shipments from Moscow. Ukraine, the United States and their allies again accused Russia of playing the “hunger games”. In this squabble, developing countries will therefore have to find new suppliers and pay more to countries like the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. But let it be said, in certain parts of the African continent, where prices have remained high, concerns are resurfacing and Morocco is no exception.

The Kingdom is already facing an unprecedented situation, because it has been strongly impacted by a severe drought (cereal harvests at only 32 million quintals instead of the 72 million planned). This shortfall is necessarily to be filled by imports. Also, Morocco is obliged to fetch its grain, more than 7.5 million tons all the same elsewhere, all cereals combined (soft wheat, corn and barley). Therefore, faced with a highly disturbed international market, the Kingdom, penalized by the economic situation, is trying to diversify its imports of cereals and soybean oils, resulting in a jump of nearly 48% which is hurting the pockets of the State.

The Moroccan, it should be remembered, is a “Khabzaoui” just like in the other Maghreb countries and consumes an average of 200 kg of wheat per year, three times more than the world average. The Kingdom imports wheat from around fifteen countries. Russia and Ukraine represent only a 15% share. With the conflict in Ukraine, the Kingdom turned to South America, particularly Argentina and Brazil, which now have more than 40% market share. Previously, Europe and North America had the lion’s share with over 60%.

The post Russia’s suspension of the ICMN: What impact on Morocco? appeared first on MoroccoLatestNews Français.

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