Morocco reimposing 170 per cent duty on hard wheat

A wall in the medina (ancient city quarter) of Rabat, Morocco’s capital. (Cia.gov)

Rabat | Reuters — Morocco will reimpose customs duty on soft and hard wheat of 135 and 170 per cent respectively from May 15 in order to cut imports at a time of higher prices in international markets, the agriculture ministry said Monday.

The government had said last week the duties would be reintroduced from June 1, but did not specify the rates.

The import duties had been suspended until May 15 to ensure price stability and steady supply after Morocco experienced two consecutive years of drought that slashed harvests.

Following abundant rainfall, Morocco expects a cereals harvest of 9.8 million tonnes this year, up 206 per cent from last season. The harvest includes 4.82 million tonnes of soft wheat, 2.34 million tonnes of durum and 2.6 million tonnes of barley.

The government set a reference price for standard quality soft wheat of 280 dirhams (C$38.33) per 100 kg, the ministry added.

Incentives to encourage use of domestically grown wheat include a flat rate subsidy of five dirhams (68 cents) per 100 kg of soft wheat to millers using local output.

Another benefits is a premium of two dirhams per 100 kg per 15 days for storage agencies valid until Dec. 31, the agriculture ministry added.

Morocco usually imports two million to three million tonnes of soft wheat, mostly from France, annually depending on local output.

Morocco’s wheat imports from Canada are primarily durum, of which it’s bought about 809,000 tonnes as of March 31 so far in the 2020-21 crop year, according to the Canadian Grain Commission.

For 2019-20, Morocco took about 888,700 tonnes of durum plus 41,200 tonnes of Canada Western Red Spring wheat.

— Reporting for Reuters by Ahmed Eljechtimi. Includes files from Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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