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Morocco to implement a customs duty on soft wheat imports

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Morocco is expected to impose a customs duty on soft wheat imports to encourage the purchasing of the local harvest which has been affected by low rainfall amounts, Reuters said Wednesday, quoting the National Millers Federation.

In November, 2018, the Kingdom suspended a customs duty on soft wheat imports to stabilize prices. The new decision will be announced, Thursday, after the government council approved of it.

«Raising the customs duty on soft wheat is a usual procedure at this time of the year and may continue for up to three months to protect the local output», Chakib Alj of the millers’ federation told the British news agency.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the Moroccan government’s preliminary forecasts suggest that cereal production in 2019 will reach 6.4 million tons, almost one-third lower than 2018 when it was at 10.5 million tons.

Meanwhile, the same forecasts indicate that wheat production for the current year is expected to drop from 7.3 million tons to 4.9 million tons.

Limited production for 2019 will have an impact on the country’s imports. According to the UN agency, Morocco, which relies on wheat imports to cover its domestic needs, will see them increase in 2019 and 2020.

FAO expects Morocco’s wheat imports to increase from 3.3 million tons in 2018 to about 4.7 million tons in 2019 to «cover the shortfall in domestic production». Meanwhile, the UN body reports that cereal import requirements might reach 8.2 million tons in 2019/20, 30 percent more than what was registered in 2018/19.

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