Morocco fails to import wheat

Grain shortage feared in North Africa

GMT 11:38 2012 Friday ,17 August

Arab Today, arab today Grain shortage feared in North Africa

Rabat - Rachid Bougha

Grain Morocco had not received any offers for its tender to buy up to 300,000 tonnes of US-origin soft wheat under a preferential tariff agreement, a source within the Moroccan state grains agency ONICL said on Thursday.
This is Morocco's biggest wheat import requirement in 30 years. The source said that it is believed that the United States exporters are reluctant to sell due to the shortage in wheat production worldwide this year.
The authority maintained a December 31 deadline for completion of the transaction.
This tender preceded another one that took place on Wednesday for buying 300,000 tonnes of EU-origin soft wheat - also part of a preferential tariff agreement - which had apparently met the same fate.
The failure of the Moroccan tender for both the US and EU soft wheat to attract interest had left the country facing the danger of food crisis in case the issue is not to be sorted out soon
The Moroccan Agriculture Ministry has said that getting the two deals done is essential for keeping the country's wheat reserves at an amount of 1.75 million tonnes of soft wheat, which covers five months of domestic needs.
Morocco is likely to import at least 4 million tonnes of soft wheat in the next 12 months, which would be the highest since 1981, according to data from the private Cereals Traders National Association (ANCL), which groups the country's private industry operators.
Morocco could find itself forced to buy further amounts of durum wheat too, as its domestic harvest has been badly affected with the worldwide crisis in wheat production. Unfavourable weather slashed its cereals harvest from 8.4 million tonnes in 2011 to 5.1 million tonnes this year, according to the agriculture ministry. However, the ministry has asserted it will not search for durum wheat abroad until the domestic production is sold out.
By the end of the first week of August, 1.39 million tonnes out the 2.74-millio-tonnes domestic production of Morocco were sold.

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