Despite the projected decline, the Ministry of Agriculture remains optimistic, assuring that Morocco’s agricultural GDP will not drop by more than 5%.
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture estimates the production of the country’s three main cereals–common wheat, durum wheat, and barley–at 30 million quintals for the 2019-2020 agricultural season.
The figure represents a 42% decrease compared to the 2018-2019 season.
The forecast cereal production inclues 16.5 million quintals of common wheat, 7.5 million quintals of durum wheat, and 5.8 million quintals of barley.
Despite the projected decline, the supply of cereals to Moroccan markets will remain consistent, as Morocco’s stock can cover citizens’ needs for more than four and a half months, said the ministry in a statement on Wednesday, April 22.
The ministry implemented several measures to replenish the stock and maintain the availability of cereals in national markets, assured the statement.
The main reason behind the significant decline in Morocco’s cereal production is drought.
The 2019-2020 agricultural season recorded precipitation of only 205 millimeters (mm) as of April 22. The figure represents a 34% decline compared to the 30-year average (323.7 mm) and a 25% decline compared to the previous season (282.1 mm).
In addition to the low volume of rainwater, the poor and irregular spatio-temporal distribution of rain negatively impacted cereal production, explained the ministry.
The crop year witnessed low rainfall at all stages of grain development and included long dry periods of almost 40 days during the bolting and tilling phases.
Meanwhile, the recent rainfall and the ministry’s initiative to distribute subsidized barley for farmers are expected to improve the situation of livestock feed.
With favorable rainfall forecasts for the next two weeks, “it is expected that this situation will progress,” said the ministry’s statement.
Despite the negative indicators, the Ministry of Agriculture remains optimistic about Morocco’s agricultural GDP in 2020, predicting that it will show “good resilience” and remain above MAD 105 billion ($10.5 billion).
Provisional estimates show that agriculture’s GDP will not drop by more than 5%, said the ministry.
With the exception of cereals, all other crops show a normal or, in some cases, even better condition than in 2019.
Citrus fruit and olive trees, for instance, demonstrate “good production prospects if the weather situation remains favorable in May-June,” said the statement.