In a context where Ukraine, one of the main wheat producers, is at war, and in a situation of climatic emergency, the Moroccan government has also seen an increase in cereal shortages. For this reason, Morocco has implemented a series of measures to avoid shortages and the impact on the local market. In this sense, the Kingdom has increased the number of grain suppliers.
Countries such as Argentina and France will be new suppliers to the country. Both nations will join the list of more than 25 countries to which the Alawi kingdom opened up in 2021 to guarantee the supply of domestic needs. The state of grain stocks in Europe and Argentina for the 2022/2023 season would be assured, according to projections by the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forestry. In addition, they add that the harvest data for these countries for this new year are encouraging and remain stable.
To this we must add the cereal produced within the country. According to data from the balance of the previous season, more than 34 million quintals were produced. This includes 18.9 million quintals of soft wheat, 8.1 million quintals of durum wheat and 7 million quintals of barley. The government also granted a premium for imported grain from November 2021.
These volumes of grain can be imported thanks to the large number of global grain shippers with whom the Moroccan government cooperates. According to Intercereales (a group of French cereal exporters), "imports of common wheat would be 4.5 to 5 million tonnes next year due to the drought. France has already delivered nearly one million quintals of wheat during the summer months, according to Yann Lebeau, head of the group of professionals in the Maghreb region at Intercereales in a press release. By the end of this year, the country is expected to receive a total of 2.5 million quintals of wheat from France. Thanks to this strategy of diversification of cereal sources, Morocco has been shielded from external fluctuations, due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which are, respectively, the second and third largest supplier of soft wheat to the Kingdom, the ministry said.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the collaboration of the agencies concerned and the country's government is working to meet the country's five-month consumption needs. Tensions in certain parts of the country complicate the situation. The objective of the measures imposed by the Executive is to mitigate the impact on the purchasing power of citizens due to the rise in prices and the inflation rate. The significant increase in Morocco's import bill is linked to products such as barley and soybean oil. The increase in prices rose compared to the previous year by 47.4%, in the case of barley by as much as 820 %. Foods such as sugar, tea and edible oils, which are considered staples, would be the first to be affected by the measures, according to the Royal High Guidelines. Possible scenarios for stockpiling of staple food stocks, such as those mentioned above, were also set out and an inventory of existing storage facilities for both raw materials and finished products was discussed.
In his speech to Parliament on the occasion of the opening of the first session of the first legislative year, King Mohammed VI called for the implementation of a policy of stockpiling strategic commodities, "we will first of all stress the necessary consolidation of Morocco's position and the imperative defence of its superior interests, particularly in the current situation which brings with it challenges, risks and threats. Indeed, the pandemic crisis has revealed the strong return of the sovereignty issue. Whether it be health, energy, industrial, food or other, the preservation of sovereignty has become the subject of a real competition, which is causing some people to react feverishly".