Morocco will extend its suspension of import duties on soft wheat for a further 45 days to June 15 and will halt the duty on durum, lentils, chickpeas, beans and broad beans starting April 1, the government said on Friday.
The decision aims to ensure regular supply and price stability amid prospects of lower domestic output due to drought and the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak, the government council said in a statement.
Morocco’s stockpiles of soft wheat, its main staple, cover three months of domestic consumption, according to the agriculture ministry.
Demand for flour and grains has jumped amid panic buying caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to contain it.
Morocco declared a health emergency a week ago and imposed a nationwide lockdown. As of 1600 GMT on Friday, it had confirmed 275 cases, including 10 deaths.
Rainfall has been down 40% this year compared with last year, boding ill for agricultural output.
The central bank said in its recent forecasts that the cereals harvest would be around 4 million tonnes, down from 5.2 million last year.
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