Moroccan imports of Argentinian maize down in 2023

Argentina, the third-largest maize producer, has been hit hard by drought, which is expected to reduce stocks available for export, leading to a 4 billion tonne drop in annual production. For this reason, corn imports to Morocco will experience a decrease in 2023.

This observation comes from the latest “Grain: World Markets and Trade” report, published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which revealed that world corn production is forecast to decline, as are imports destined for some countries, including Morocco, noting that the decrease in exports from Argentina and the United States is only partially offset by the increase in exports from Brazil, India and Ukraine.

According to the same source, Argentina is expected to face a significant drop in its maize production, from 33 billion tons in 2022 to 29 tons this year, due to an unprecedented severe drought which reduces the yields of the Latin American countries.

That said, imports of Argentine corn from the Kingdom are contracted. They will continue their downward trend, dropping from 2.5 billion tonnes last year and settling at 2.3 billion this year, ie a fall of 200 million tonnes by the end of the year. The report points out that Argentine and Brazilian maize imports represent 90% of Morocco’s purchases, with poultry and dairy farming as the main consumers.

In addition, overall cereal production also fell by 68% in Morocco last year, according to the FAO’s quarterly report on the world food situation, with a stock of 3.3 million tonnes, a drop of 58% compared to the average production of the last five years.

In addition, this reduction comes at a difficult time for the global corn supply. According to the USDA, even Egypt, North Africa’s largest producer, importer and consumer of corn is expected to experience a drop in imports.

While maize remains the main feed component for the poultry industry, Egyptian production does not cover more than 30% of domestic demand. Poultry producers are critically dependent on imports, however, this year imports are expected to decline by 8% as the country faces economic challenges and inflation that has affected countries around the world.

The report specifies that Egyptian maize imports (2022-2023) are expected to stand at 9.0 million tonnes, the lowest level since 2017. During the first quarter of the year 2022/23, approximately 1.4 million tonnes of maize were exported to Egypt, down 54% from the same period a year earlier, and the lowest level for this period since 2008.

Import restrictions imposed by Egypt in 2022 have compounded foreign exchange problems, creating major disruptions for Egyptian feed grain traders, the USDA said.

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