The New Arab
Morocco is moving towards providing financial support to sugar plant growers, with the aim of improving productivity and reducing imports of raw sugar, in a context characterized by rising prices on the international market.
The state is expected to allocate support in the range of 80 dirhams per ton for beet farmers and 70 dirhams per ton for sugarcane farmers, with the aim of raising the share of national production in covering local consumption.
The Moroccan Sugar Federation indicates that the goal of supporting farmers of sugar production crops in the new agricultural season is to improve the productivity and competitiveness of sugar crops and reduce imports of raw sugar from the international market.
It is clear that Morocco seeks to maximize local production of beets and sugarcane, with the aim of avoiding dependence on part of its sugar needs on the international market, where prices have risen.
Data from the Exchange Office show that the bill for purchases of raw and refined sugar from abroad rose in the first ten months of this year to $750 million, compared to $626 million in the same period last year, an increase of $124 million.
The sharp decline in local sugar production last year led to increased dependence on imports. Morocco’s purchases jumped to 831 thousand tons, an increase of 19%, compared to the level it reached in 2021.
A report attached to the draft finance (budget) law that Parliament is considering states that the global sugar market witnessed unprecedented complexity and volatility during the last season, in light of dry climatic conditions in the main producing regions and export restrictions, which was reflected in prices that reached the highest level in a decade. from time.
Raw sugar prices have recorded significant fluctuations since last January, ranging between a minimum of $448 per ton and a maximum of $633 per ton, meaning an average of $542 per ton, an increase of approximately 23% until last August.
Morocco’s consumption of white sugar reaches 1.2 million tons, with 51% of consumption met through national production, but as of 2021 this production has recorded a noticeable decline due to drought and the increasing shortage of water resources.
The decline in local production from 600,000 tons in 2019 to 321,000 tons last year, then 230,000 tons this year, led to increased reliance on the international market to meet local needs.
A report issued by the High Commission for Government Planning, on the Kingdom’s food dependency, confirmed that meeting the needs for sugar consumption through national production will be modest by 2025, despite the support measures enjoyed by the sector.