Emerging Markets / May 23, 2017

Agriculture and Grain Production in Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco, located in between the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Sahara Desert, gained its official independence from French and Spanish occupation in 1956. Historically, the country has had close social and cultural ties with Spain and Portugal on the Iberian Peninsula as well as France. Nevertheless, for decades, Morocco has been at odds with its neighbors and the international community because of its claims over the territory of the Western Sahara. Morocco’s internationally recognized sovereign territory has a total extension of almost 447.000 square kilometers and a coastline of more than 1.830 kilometers, which means that the country is somewhat larger than California. Geographically, Morocco is dominated by a fertile coastline, the Atlas mountain range, and the Sahara desert towards the interior. Similarly, the country has a mild Mediterranean climate along its coastline, cool weather throughout its mountainous region, and an arid interior.

Currently, Morocco has a total population of almost 34 million citizens, of which 60% live in an urban setting, notably the capital city of Rabat with some 2 million inhabitants as well as Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech. The Moroccan annual gross domestic product (GDP) is of approximately US$280 billion and its national economy has experienced positive growth upwards of 1.5 % in recent years. The national economy is divided into 13% agriculture, 30% manufacturing, and 57% services. Likewise, the agricultural industry employs 40% of the national labor force, while manufacturing employs about 20% and services employ another 40%. Meanwhile, the agriculture industry utilizes some 68% of the national territory, while another 11% is forested.

In terms of natural resources, Morocco has phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, and salt. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on automotive parts, mining & mineral processing, aerospace equipment, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, and the energy sector. Similarly, a large sector of the Moroccan economy is devoted to the tourism industry. Meanwhile, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products barley, wheat, citrus, fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives, livestock, and wine. In terms of trade, Morocco’s main partners are Spain, France, the United States, Italy, and China. Furthermore, since 2006, Morocco and the United States have mutually benefited from a standing Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This article explores the status of grain production in Morocco.

Agriculture and Grain Production in Morocco

Morocco is a great producer of wheat, both the durum and the common varieties, as well as barley. Durum wheat production in the country is expected to surpass 1.6 million metric tons during the 2017 harvest season, while common wheat production is forecasted to reach approximately 4.6 million metric tons. Likewise, barley output during 2017 is estimated at more than 2 million metric tons. These production levels represent a slight decrease from 2013 when Morocco produced about 1.9 million metric tons of durum wheat, little over 5 million metric tons of common wheat, and some 2.7 million metric tons of barley. Nevertheless, total cereals production in the country has increased throughout the last half century. In 1961, the cereals market in Morocco yielded little over 1.5 million metric tons. Meanwhile, in 2014, it produced a total of almost 7 million metric tons.

(Read more about Agriculture, Energy & International Policy)