By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, August 15, 2012
Signs of a new crisis regarding the availability of wheat in Morocco are looming on the horizon. According to the Moroccan daily Al Massae, the United Stated refused to supply Morocco with large quantities of wheat crop.
Sources close to the National Office of Cereals and Grains confirm that the US refused the Moroccan offer to purchase 300,000 tonnes of wheat grain despite the preferential custom fees Morocco offered.
The Midwest region in the United States was hit by drought resulting in a sharp decrease in crop production. Thus, the severe drought is expected to lead to a spike in food global prices for the season 2012/2013.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says complete recovery from a drought not only requires the change of seasons but significant rainfall. The USDA’s weekly crop progress report, released on Monday, showed crop conditions improved slightly, but that crop ratings remain at their lowest levels since the last serious drought in 1988.
Needless to say that the successive dry seasons in Morocco have also led to huge losses in grain production, which has damaged severely the output of the national agriculture especially in crops production.
The largest crop producing states are expected to increase their reserves of wheat rather than exporting their production in order to secure crop supply for their domestic markets and to benefit more from the rise in crop prices in global markets.
France is also expected to decrease its wheat exports to Morocco. With the spike in wheat prices in the international markets, the Moroccan government is likely to increase the prices of flour and bread. The situation is rather alarming since the Moroccan reserves of wheat will be exhausted in two months.
Al Massae reports that the National Office of Cereals and Grains has formed a crisis cell to tackle the shortage in crop reserves, especially with the reluctance of the largest crop producing countries to supply the national market with its basic needs.
The World Bank expressed also concerns on the impact of food price volatility on poor countries. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said “When food prices rise sharply, families cope by pulling their kids out of school and eating cheaper, less nutritious food, which can have a catastrophic life-long effects on the social, physical and mental well being of millions of young people.”
The World Bank reports revealed that Wheat prices are up over 50 percent since mid-June.
The price for corn has risen more than 45 percent since mid-June and Soybeans are up almost 30 percent since the beginning of June and up almost 60 percent since the end of last year.
While the global economic growth is likely to remain tepid for a long time, the national economy is facing the rampant danger of recession. The spike in wheat prices, a commodity of a critical importance both to food security and social rest, is another burden for Benkirane’s government.
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