CASABLANCA, MOROCCO — Drought-stricken Morocco is expected to purchase 2.5 million tonnes of soft wheat, about half of its needs, from France this season ending June 2024, Reuters reported, citing Yann Lebeau, Maghreb region head at French wheat professionals group Intercereales.
France has already shipped 1 million tonnes to the country this summer, Lebeau said. Last year, French wheat represented 60% of Moroccan imports, or 2.88 million tonnes.
After drought reduced its domestic crop for a second year, Morocco launched an import program for the 2023-24 season targeting 2.5 million tonnes for the period July-September 2023.
Morocco imported only 80% of the target due to logistical and financial issues relating to subsidy payments, Abdelkader Alaoui, head of the industrial millers federation, told Reuters on the sidelines of a wheat conference.
Moroccan grains agency ONICL announced last week a new plan to import 2 million tonnes over October-December but has not yet revealed the subsidy amount. Traders at the conference said they expected Morocco to keep the same subsidy for all origins, including Russia.
Besides French grain, Morocco has increased soft wheat imports from Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania.
Morocco has experienced drought four of the last five seasons, and wheat production is well below historic averages. In the government’s first wheat estimate for the 2023 crop in June, production was pegged at 2.98 million tonnes for common wheat and 1.18 million tonnes for durum wheat, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Source : WorldGrain