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Morocco's Wheat and Barley Production, Imports to Fall Amidst Severe Drought

Morocco's Wheat and Barley Production, Imports to Fall Amidst Severe Drought

Morocco's wheat and barley production is expected to plummet in the 2024/25 marketing year due to ongoing drought conditions, according to the latest report by the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The report highlights the severe drought affecting most of Morocco's growing areas, with the exception of irrigated fields used for seed production. As a result, the total harvested area for wheat and barley is forecast to decline by approximately 24% compared to the previous year, reaching 2.8 million hectares.

"Extreme drought continues to afflict wheat and barley production in Morocco," the FAS report states. "The majority of Morocco's growing areas in the south are mired in a severe drought, except for fields that are irrigated for seed production."

The FAS forecasts wheat production to fall by 45% to 2.3 million metric tons (MMT) and barley production to drop by 52% to 0.6 MMT. These declines are attributed to below-average yields caused by the lack of rainfall.

"[We anticipate] wheat and barley yields to fall well below average," the report states. "As a result, [we estimate] MY 2024/25 production to fall to 2.3 MMT for wheat and 0.6 MMT barley, approximately 45 and 52 percent lower than MY 2023/24, respectively."

The sharp decline in domestic production is expected to lead to a significant increase in wheat imports. The FAS forecasts Morocco's wheat imports to rise by 52% to 7.5 MMT in the 2024/25 marketing year, well above the country's ten-year import average.

"The anticipated decline in production is expected to necessitate an increase in wheat imports," the report states. "For MY 2024/25, wheat imports are expected to rise to 7.5 MMT, a 52 percent increase above Morocco's ten-year import average."

Due to instability and payment difficulties with Black Sea countries, Moroccan wheat importers are increasingly diversifying their sources of wheat. In the 2023/24 marketing year, Morocco sourced approximately 80% of its wheat from European Union countries.

The FAS report also notes that Morocco is promoting the adoption of no-till planting practices to enhance water conservation during periods of heat stress. As of this season, 40,000 hectares have already implemented the no-till method.