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Morocco confirms cut in soft wheat duty to 35pc

The cut aims at ensuring regular supplies and guaranteeing the stability of the soft wheat price at 260 dirhams per
19 Sep 2019
  • The cut aims at ensuring regular supplies and guaranteeing the stability of the soft wheat price at 260 dirhams per quintal.
  • Morocco announced a cereals harvest of 5.2 million tonnes, down 49% from a year earlier because of a lack of rainfall.

RABAT: Morocco will cut its customs duty on soft wheat to 35% from 135% from Oct. 1, government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi announced on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.

The cut aims at ensuring regular supplies and guaranteeing the stability of the soft wheat price at 260 dirhams per quintal, he told reporters.

"This is also a social measure that is aimed at boosting national reserves and protecting the purchasing power of citizens," said El Khalfi.

"Keeping customs duty at 135% will lead to higher prices," he said. Reuters on Tuesday cited a government source as saying that Rabat had decided to cut soft wheat duty.

Wheat supply is key to Morocco's stability as bread and semolina make up staples for the population of 35 million.

The cut would also help importers boost national reserves, which are expected to shrink to 1.5 million tonnes by the end of September, covering 2.7 months of the needs of industrial millers, he said.

Importers were waiting for the cut to buy more wheat from the international market after no bidders were made for a US wheat tender earlier this month.

Morocco announced a cereals harvest of 5.2 million tonnes, down 49% from a year earlier because of a lack of rainfall.

This year's harvest includes 2.68 million tonnes of soft wheat, 1.34 million tonnes of durum wheat and 1.16 million tonnes of barley, according to the agriculture ministry.

The majority of cereal-planted areas are small properties owned by subsistence farmers.