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Morocco to Expand Soft Wheat Stockpiles beyond Five Months

Morocco to Expand Soft Wheat Stockpiles beyond Five Months

Monday, 11 April, 2022 - 17:45
Spring wheat is harvested on a farm near Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada, Aug. 20, 2020. (Reuters)

The Moroccan government plans a gradual build-up of soft wheat stockpiles adding to the five months of domestic consumption needs currently secured by the private sector, the agriculture minister said on Monday.

The additional stocks will be run by state grains agency ONICLE, minister Mohammed Sadiki told members of the parliament, without offering further details.

Morocco also plans to increase durum stocks, he said.

The local cereals harvest, which hit a record 10.3 million tons last year, is severely compromised this season by the worst drought in decades.

So far this year, rainfall was 41% lower than average, although a late rainfall in March gave farmers a small glimpse of hope.

Moroccan farmers have sown 3.5 million hectares with cereals, of which 44% was planted with soft wheat, 24% with durum and 32% with barley, Sadiki told members of parliament.

Due to drought, 53% of the harvest is expected to be lost and only 21% is in good condition, while 16% showed average condition and 10% is bad.

Traders expect Morocco's cereals harvest to be lower than 3 million tons.

The surge of wheat prices due to the war in Ukraine meant higher subsidies on soft wheat which reached 1.7 billion dirhams for the 1.8 million tons imported by Morocco since November, he said.

The kingdom has received 0.55 million tons of Ukrainian soft wheat from an order of 0.6 million tons covering November-February, Abdelkader Alaoui, head of the industrial millers federation told Reuters last month.

Ukrainian and Russian wheat represent 25% and 11% of Moroccan wheat imports, respectively, while France tops the list of suppliers.

Moroccan traders are looking at French, Brazilian, Argentinian, Polish, German and Lithuanian wheat, Alaoui said.

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