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A Bountiful Year for Morocco’s Wheat

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Rabat – Despite a sluggish start, Morocco’s 2018 agricultural campaign has experienced an impressive upswing in production levels in recent months, suggesting that a bountiful harvest that may double returns in May 2018, exceeding the expectations of Moroccan authorities, according to Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture, Aziz Akhannouch, on the sidelines of a conference held yesterday in Meknes.

Speaking about the challenges in Moroccan agriculture over the last ten years, Mr. Akhannouch said that productivity this year may produce the best agricultural yield in last decade, with productivity levels set to reach 98.2 million quintals. According to the minister, this provisional figure represents an increase of 3 percent compared to 2017 results.

The figures entail three different categories of cereals: 48.1 million quintals of soft wheat, 22.8 million for durum wheat, and 27.3 million of barley. The crop yield stands out this year, as a smaller total area of arable lands has decreased results in previous years.

While farmers and wheat growers worked on 5.4 million hectares last year, only 4.5 million hectares were used in this year agricultural campaign, the Minister reported, further hinting that this means an average of 21.8 quintals per hectare—an increase of 23 percent with respect to the previous campaign.

For the agriculture minister, these improved and “exceptional results” reveal the massive human and financial efforts invested by farmers and agricultural officials. “This exceptional result showcases [Morocco’s] great and intervention capabilities, which have developed since the launching of the Green Morocco Plan.

Launched in 2018, the Green Morocco Plan has been instrumental in transforming Moroccan agriculture, with grand investments and consequential results.

Presenting the plan’s results from the last ten years, the minister said that the Green Morocco Plan has invested MAD 105 billion in the agriculture sector over the past decade. He went on to mention that such a considerable investment has been particularly pivotal in helping the sector grow by 7.3 percent since 2008, a figure that is more than double of Morocco’s average growth rate of 3.2 percent.

More than a noticeable improvement in crop yields, however, the Green Morocco Plan has also helped employ over 250,000 persons, thus considerably decreasing the rate of rural depopulation. With job and food security, less people are willing to migrate to bid cities, Mr. Akhannouch noted.

Reporting yesterday on Morocco’s “bountiful harvest,” Bloomberg hailed the country’s impressive “wheat outlook,” saying that such results allow Morocco’s wheat market to shed dependence on products from France, Russia, or Ukraine—Europe’s and the world’s top exporters of wheat and wheat-related products.

“Morocco is poised to have a bountiful wheat harvest in 2018, and that may mean another slow year for the North African country’s top suppliers from Russia to France and Ukraine,” the outlet wrote, suggesting that the Green Moroccan Plan can, if the recent performance is sustained, propel Morocco beyond self-sufficiency into the category of wheat exporter.

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