Akhannouch referred to the review of the Green Morocco Plan, saying its achievements had guaranteed food security for Moroccans at the height of the epidemiological crisis.
Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said that that “attention to food strategic security in the current international context constitutes one of the most prominent government bets,” evoking threats to “the safety of global food systems.” He also that “this year is also difficult; however, we are trying to overcome this, with important productivity in the various production chains.”
Akhannouch was speaking late Monday before Moroccan deputies during a constitutional session for monthly accountability on the topic of “the government’s vision to establish a national system for food sustainability.”
He recalled the royal speech at the opening of the legislative year 2021-2022, which confirmed that “the epidemiological crisis has revealed the return of issues of sovereignty to the fore, and the race to fortify it, in its various dimensions, health, energy, industrial and food.”
The prime minister noted that the intensity of geo-strategic tensions and regional conflicts, as well as the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, have left a widespread collapse of economic activity and an imbalance in global value chains, pointing out that his government is working to lay the building blocks of a sustainable food system to achieve food security.
“We established an innovative agricultural model that strengthened the immunity of the agricultural sector and its resilience in the face of fluctuations,” which, he said, had led to “a widening of food inflation due to the excessive restriction of a group of countries on exports of oils, wheat and sugar. This is exacerbated by the position occupied by the two sides of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the global grain market, as their contribution amounts to about 50 percent of the World Food Programme related to grains,” he said.
Akhannouch spoke of the review of the Green Morocco Plan (since 2008), saying its achievements had guaranteed food security for Moroccans at the height of the epidemiological crisis.
“The scale of its achievements amounted to the underlined ambition and achieved the expected goals, especially achieving Moroccan food security,” he said.
The Moroccan premier explained that the government has already restored balance to all productive sectors that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic and continues to make structured investments to support national agriculture.
Regarding the effect of adverse climate conditions on agriculture, Akhannouch highlighted contracts to support farming that were signed between the government and professionals during the International Agricultural Exhibition in Meknes.
The contracts amount to a budget of $4.3 billion from the Agricultural Development Fund.
The premier also said that total state investments in the sector over the next decade are expected to exceed $17.5 billion through a number of public-private initiatives.
Akhannouch was speaking at a time of mounting frustration among Moroccans against a backdrop of rising food prices.
In a February 2023 survey, 93 percent of respondents said that soaring food prices and drought are the top two crises facing the kingdom.
Data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 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 percent year-on-year in 2022, the UN 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.