U.S. Wheat Associates
Moroccan government lowers import tariff to head off rising wheat prices.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Morocco is currently experiencing a severe drought, which has caused grain production to fall 70% from the previous year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Services said in a Sept. 28 report. In an effort to head off rising wheat prices and avoid possible shortages, the Moroccan government lowered import tariff on common wheat from 75% to 30% in late 2015. This move served to keep domestic prices at around $263 per tonne, the report said. In order to secure adequate wheat supply, while at the same time keeping imports in check, Morocco has increased import tariff to 65%, as of June 15. The FAS said this move aims to safeguard local industry and keep consumer prices unchanged.

In an effort to encourage local wheat production and increase local supply, the Moroccan government also has been working to increase the quantity of land under irrigation as well as expanding access to crop insurance among farmers, and preserving seeds that will be provided to farmers for the next growing season, the report said.

On Sept. 20 and 21, the Cereals Office (ONCIL), under Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture, solicited bids from importers for licenses to import wheat under the U.S. and E.U. tariff rate quotas (TRQ).

On Sept. 28, ONCIL again issued a tender for U.S. wheat under the TRQ.  According to the FAS, buyers are expected to provide offers for up to 303,637 tonnes of U.S. soft white wheat when bids open on Oct. 5.