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Morocco reveals $990m plan to support farmers

Morocco vegetable exports Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Prices have climbed rapidly during a foreign currency crisis that has triggered three devaluations since March 2022
  • Rural jobs hit by drought and global economic challenges
  • Budget includes allocation to protect animal and plant capital
  • World Bank predicts economic growth will remain strong

Morocco’s government has launched a 10 billion dirham ($990 million) plan to support the country’s farmers, designed to combat the impact of drought and global economic challenges.

A report from the Higher Commission for Planning said 229,000 jobs had been lost in rural parts of the country, where agriculture employs over 30 percent of the workforce.

This is compared to 51,000 jobs lost in urban areas over the same period.

The new framework agreement was signed between the government and officials from the agricultural sector.

Half the budget will be allocated to protect animal capital, subsidising barley and imported feed for livestock and poultry.

A further 4 billion dirham will be earmarked to protect plant capital, providing subsidies for seeds and fertilisers in order to lower production costs for fruit and vegetables.

The remaining 1 billion dirham is reserved for Crédit Agricole bank, to provide financial assistance to farmers.

Drought and cooler temperatures this winter in the North African country caused shortages of fruit and vegetable produce in European supermarkets, particularly in the UK.

Despite the uncertainty, the World Bank predicts that economic growth in Morocco will remain strong overall this year.

It said GDP would grow 3.1 percent in 2023, following a post-pandemic rebound. 

The World Bank said Morocco’s real GDP growth dropped from 7.9 percent in 2021 to an estimated 1.2 percent last year, while the current account deficit increased from 2.3 percent to 4.1 percent of GDP. 

In a bid to reduce the impact of rising costs on poorer Moroccan households, the government has introduced a support package, including general subsidies on food staples, and maintained pre-existing regulated prices.

The government in April scrapped VAT on agricultural inputs to help lower prices of fresh produce and other farmed food products.