Rabat - Morocco’s government plans to gradually restore balance to the country's various food production chains over the next two years, Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch said on Monday.
While answering MPs’ questions at the House of Representatives, Akhannouch explained that the government has already restored balance to all productive sectors that were affected by the COVID pandemic and continues to make structured investments to support national agriculture.
Regarding the effect of adverse climate conditions on agriculture, the head of government recalled a number of contracts to support the sector that were signed between the government and professionals during the International Agricultural Exhibition in Meknes.
The contracts amount to a budget of MAD 43 billion ($4.3 billion) through the Agricultural Development Fund.
He also said that total state investments into the sector over the next decade are expected to exceed MAD 175 billion ($17.5 billion) through a number of public-private initiatives.
Akhannouch’s statements come at a time of mounting frustration among Moroccans on the backdrop of rising food prices.
In a February 2023 survey conducted in Morocco, 93% of respondents said that soaring food prices and drought are the top two crises facing the country.
Data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicate that due to the increasingly frequent droughts, farmers’ reliance on agriculture as a source of income is steadily declining and is triggering a wave of urban migration, which in turn reduces supply and contributes to the rise in prices.
The effect of drought on agriculture is causing a compound effect down the food supply chain, with food price inflation hiking by 15% year-on-year in 2022, the report points out.
While the government maintains that food inflation is an ‘imported’ phenomenon that is caused by external pressure and should weather down soon, the central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, and the Higher Commission for Planning both seem to agree that drought and price inflation are internal and are turning into structural issues that should be addressed.