Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.

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  • Morocco’s animated film industry still has a way to go, On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

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  • New Moroccan PM moves to end political deadlock , On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Morocco to adopt flexible exchange rate policy, On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Moroccan king names Othmani as new prime minister , On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Discovering Rabat’s hidden charms, On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

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  • African focus at Casablanca book fair, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Meknes, the city of endless heritage, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • EU to secure agriculture trade pact after Morocco’s warning, On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • Morocco grows into an international cultural magnet, On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • Morocco rejoins African Union without conditions, On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • The stakes of Morocco’s diplomatic offensive, On: Sun, 29 Jan 2017

  • Morocco engages process of integrating migrants, On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • In Morocco, reforms stalled with no government formed , On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Morocco working on becoming regional industrial hub, On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Morocco’s year of African diplomacy, On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

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  • Morocco seeks to boost ties with African countries , On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • Moroccan TV programme on battered women provokes outcry, On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • Morocco PM fails to resolve political stalemate weeks after polls, On: Sun, 27 Nov 2016

  • Algeria says it seeks to mend ties with Morocco, On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Marrakech climate change conference pleads with Trump , On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Government formation still in limbo a month after Morocco polls, On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Fishmonger’s death triggers protests in Morocco, investigation launched, On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Marrakech races against clock to host COP 22, On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Moroccan writer wins France’s top literary prize, On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Morocco’s king in East Africa to boost AU entry bid, On: Sun, 30 Oct 2016

  • Moroccan king calls for reform of civil service , On: Sun, 23 Oct 2016

  • PJD’s win in Morocco elections seen as ‘no surprise’, On: Sun, 16 Oct 2016

  • PJD takes lead in Moroccan elections, coalition needed to form government , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Economy, environment and war of words marked Moroccan campaign, On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Morocco getting ready for climate conference, On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • Anti-Islamist protest stirs controversy in Morocco, On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • Morocco Islamist leaders engulfed in sex scandal , On: Sun, 11 Sep 2016

  • Morocco predicts near-record cereal harvest in 2017

    Agriculture accounts for more than 15% of Morocco’s gross domestic product.

    Triple output. A Moroccan woman separates the wheat from the chaff at a grain market in Rabat. (AFP)


    2017/04/23 Issue: 103 Page: 18



    Meknes - Morocco expects its ce­real harvest to hit 10.2 million tonnes, about triple the previous season and close to 2015’s record, thanks to abundant rainfall, Moroccan Agriculture Min­ister Aziz Akhannouch said.

    Akhannouch said production of common wheat was expected to total 5 million tonnes with 3 mil­lion tonnes of barley and 2.3 million tonnes of durum wheat anticipated to be harvested.

    Agriculture accounts for more than 15% of Morocco’s gross domes­tic product (GDP) and employs 40% of the workforce. Officials raised the customs duty on soft wheat im­ports to 75% from 17.5% in 2015 to protect the local harvest.

    The Moroccan government ex­pects the country’s GDP to grow 4.5% in 2017, up from less than 2% in 2016 after the worst drought in decades cut its cereal harvest to 3.35 million tonnes last year, down 70% from 2015’s record 11 million tonnes.

    Morocco is one of the world’s big­gest cereal importers. A decrease in cereal imports would help its trade balance. Compared to 2015, the trade deficit rose 19.6% to $18.4 billion in 2016, due partly to wheat imports.

    Akhannouch said that the Green Morocco Plan (PMV) has led to the creation of more than 300,000 farms, raising the number to 1.8 million.

    “A significant improvement in the mechanisation of Moroccan agriculture was recorded, reaching 8.03 tractors per 1,000 hectares, in­stead of 4.9 recorded before the im­plementation of the PMV,” he said.

    The PMV, established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fish­ing, seeks to consolidate successes achieved and to meet new chal­lenges facing Morocco’s competi­tiveness and opening of markets, the government portal www.invest. gov.ma stated.

    Akhannouch made his state­ment about the expected harvest at a conference on the sidelines of the International Agricultural Fair of Meknes (SIAM). More than 1,200 exhibitors from 66 countries took part in the 12th SIAM, which was or­ganised under the theme “Agribusi­ness and sustainable agricultural value chains.”

    The fair has become an interna­tional business hub, making Moroc­co one of the flagship destinations of continental and international ag­riculture and agro-industry.

    Guinean President Alpha Condé, the event’s guest of honour, told the conference that Morocco’s return to the African Union “will make a remarkable contribution to this ex­hilarating undertaking of solidarity among the African peoples.”

    Condé hailed Morocco’s efforts to develop its vital agricultural sector.

    “The example of Morocco will serve to convince certain African countries that the development of our countries, whatever their rich­ness in raw minerals, necessarily goes through the development of our agriculture,” he said.

    “These meetings symbolise the efforts of a sister country to strengthen South-South and inter- African cooperation in order to achieve sustainable development of agriculture and food security in Africa and around the world.”

    Morocco’s leading telecom opera­tor Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Tel­ecom) during SIAM proposed the rental of agricultural equipment.

    Brahim Boudaoud, marketing di­rector for Itissalat Al Maghrib, said the company offers an online solu­tion at www.souk-e.ma that allows farmers to rent agricultural equip­ment, look for a profile or sell crops.

    The website can be downloaded as a mobile app on smartphones.

    “Our solutions are a tradition at SIAM. They aim to accompany the sector. Some, such as the one relat­ing to soil moisture and its irriga­tion needs, are in great demand,” said Boudaoud.

    The Food and Agriculture Or­ganisation (FAO) signed three co­operation agreements with the Moroccan government at SIAM. The agreements, which touch rural, agricultural and food development sectors, set out priorities for coop­eration between the Moroccan gov­ernment and FAO.

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