vulnerable countries will pay more for less

In its biannual report on “Food Outlook”, theFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) argues that the global food import bill is expected to jump by 10% in 2022 with negative repercussions on global agricultural production and food security expected to last until 2023. What about Morocco?

The FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) have therefore recently published a report warning of the possible increase in acute food insecurity by the end of the year, by identifying 19 potential famine hotspots, located mostly on the African continent where food security by January 2023 risks being seriously shaken.

The causes of this possible increase in food insecurity are multiple, with violent conflicts as the first factor. They can also be economic or meteorological in nature, with extreme events such as floods, tropical storms or droughts. Global food import costs are poised to hit a record close to $2 trillion in 2022, increasing pressure on the world’s poorest countries that likely shipped far fewer volumes of food. food, the United Nations Food Agency said on Friday.

The institution says sub-Saharan Africa, already hard hit by malnutrition, is set to spend $4.8 billion more on food imports, despite falling volumes, “Importers struggle to finance rising costs markets, potentially heralding the end of their resilience to rising international prices,” FAO said.

In parallel with this surge in food expenditure, the global bill for agricultural inputs is expected to increase by 48% compared to 2021. This constitutes a lesser evil for the Kingdom and its economy, knowing in this that our country through the OCP Group is is positioned as a key player in the development of agriculture and the promotion of food security across the planet. Its commitment to feeding it is reinforced by initiatives ranging from the production of fertilizers to support for small farmers, including the preservation of the environment.

In reality, the joint FAO and WFP report warns of the consequences that this 10% jump could have on vulnerable countries. Indeed, world food prices have reached record levels in these countries and even in other much healthier ones after the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, where the two countries in conflict are major producers and exporters of cereals and oilseeds. The FAO warns that the consequences of these price increases will be dramatic for poor importing countries, which will pay more for less.

The OCP Group thus provides its support, through a holistic, inclusive and partnership approach that accompanies all the actors in the agricultural value chain, from input suppliers to the end consumer of agricultural products. That said, there is no doubt that the Kingdom, faced with an unprecedented situation, finds itself strongly impacted. Already penalized by the Ukrainian economic situation, it is currently suffering from a severe drought like never before, which moreover considerably reduced its cereal harvests to 32 million quintals only during the last agricultural year. It is therefore far from the forecasts based on 70 million quintals.

This huge shortfall (Morocco provided 55% of its needs through local production) will have to be tapped by imports which should at the very least amount to more than 7.5 million tonnes, all cereals combined. . According to statistics and projections dating back a little (May 2022) from the Foreign Exchange Office, the bill for imports of cereals and soybean oils had reached, at the end of May 2022, 15.8 billion DH against 10.7 billion of DH over the same period last year, a jump of almost 48%.

Mohamed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests will reassure in vain by declaring ” Through its agricultural strategy and its agricultural trade policy which advocates the diversification of suppliers and customers, Morocco is better equipped to deal with this situation. “, there remains a concern. Morocco imports its seeds from about fifteen countries. Russia and Ukraine account for only a 15% share. Morocco imports 1.3 billion DH from Russia, mainly soft wheat (3.3 million quintals on average for a value of 712 million DH).

From Ukraine, Morocco imports almost 3.5 billion DH of agricultural products, mainly cereals (12 million quintals of common wheat, corn and barley). In recent years, the Kingdom has opted more and more for South America, in particular Argentina and Brazil, which have more than 40% market share. Previously, Europe and North America had a share of over 60%.

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