MOROCCO – The Moroccan government has proactively taken steps to secure the availability and affordability of essential food items for its citizens in preparation for the holy month of Ramadan.

In response to the increased demand during this period, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah, announced that the government will utilize its national subsidies fund to subsidize basic goods.

 Additionally, customs duties and value-added tax (VAT) will be eliminated on a range of essential commodities to stabilize prices.

During a press briefing, Minister Fettah underscored the significance of these measures, particularly considering recent inflationary pressures and water scarcity that have historically led to price hikes during Ramadan.

She reported positive outcomes, noting that prices of key food staples like tomatoes, potatoes, and onions have already seen a decline in recent weeks.

Furthermore, Minister Fettah assured the public that market supply remains robust across all regions of the country, thanks to coordinated efforts at every level of the government.

The inter-ministerial commission, responsible for overseeing market supply and prices, convened to evaluate the country’s readiness for Ramadan and ensure stable prices to preserve national purchasing power.

Despite the potential challenges posed by a nationwide shortage in rainfall, Minister Fettah is optimistic about the government’s proactive approach. However, the persisting drought and inflation in food prices, averaging 6.7% annually as of December 2023, continue to pose concerns.

In the face of these challenges, the government remains committed to ensuring the well-being of its citizens during Ramadan by prioritizing the affordability and accessibility of essential food items.

Meanwhile in another parallel development relating to rumors suggesting a notable decrease in vegetable and fruit prices in Morocco being tied to Mauritania’s customs duties on Moroccan produce, Minister of Agriculture Mohamed Sadiki refuted such claims.

He clarified in an interview that Mauritania has not halted the import of Moroccan products but has adjusted customs duties, leading to some logistical delays.

Minister Sadiki emphasized the continued importation of Moroccan produce by Mauritania, with annual exports ranging between 1,000 and 1,500 quintals.

Dismissing the notion that the drop in produce prices is connected to Mauritania’s customs measures, he stated that exports persist to various destinations, including other African countries, Europe, and Canada.

Highlighting the importance of exports when domestic supply exceeds demand, Minister Sadiki explained that exports ensure the viability of producers’ investments.

He assured citizens that in case of insufficient demand in the domestic market, the Ministry of Agriculture professionals would intervene to find solutions.

He cautioned against an outright ban on exports, noting its potential to discourage farmers sand lead to long-term difficulties.

The situation remains under scrutiny, with Mauritania expressing its commitment to finding solutions within the existing cooperation framework.

Minister Sadiki’s statements aim to dispel concerns about the perceived link between Mauritania’s customs duties and the decrease in produce prices in Morocco, assuring citizens of continued stability in the agricultural sector.

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