Farmers in the North African nation are calling for government support as profitability is squeezed by rising feed costs and low chicken prices.
Although problems with high production costs and declining profitability are facing poultry producers worldwide, the situation has become particularly acute in Morocco.
“A real disaster” is how the national poultry association described the current situation, reports Morocco World News.
According to the organization’s president, Said Jennah, the overproduction has led to a drop in chicken selling prices to no more than 11.50 dirhams (MAD; US$1.13) per bird. With an average production cost of 16 MAD, farmers lose up to 5.5 MAD per kilogram.
In order to protect poultry farmers from further deterioration of the situation, the association urges the Moroccan government to take further measures. Among the required measures is the creation of a legal framework that will allow poultry producers to determine selling prices.
All over the world, the skyrocketing prices of food, energy and other goods are leading to an economic crisis.
In Morocco, consumers complained of very high prices for livestock and poultry ahead of the Eid al-Adha celebration, the source said.
Already a month ago, Le Site Info reported that chicken prices were up to 20 MAD per kilo in Casablanca.
Bad harvest, rising feed costs
The feed cost situation is exacerbated by poor growing conditions for Moroccan wheat and barley earlier this year.
The first USDA estimate cited by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) puts the total harvest of these crops this year at 3.2 million metric tons (mmt). Compared to 10.2 mmt, this is down 60% from the previous year.
To meet future grain demand, the Moroccan government has implemented measures to build up the country’s wheat reserves. According to FAS, it also supports the marketing of domestic wheat and checks the rise in prices of imported bread wheat.
Overview of the Poultry Industry in Morocco
National chicken production has been steadily expanding in recent years, according to FAOstat, the statistics department of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Its figures point to growth of around 35% between 610,000 metric tonnes (mt) and 821,500 mt in 2020 – the latest year for which figures have been published. During this period, the number of chickens produced per year increased from 577 million to 630 million.
According to WATTPoultry.com’s Top Poultry Companies survey, the largest poultry company in Morocco is Alf Sahel s.a.r.l. With an annual production of 30 million birds, this company is the 12th highest performer on the African continent.
About a month ago, another Moroccan poultry company received significant investment for its future expansion, especially into West Africa.
Mitsui Group of Japan has invested an additional US$41 million in Zalar Holding, African Law & Business reported.
Based in Fez, Zalar operates the entire poultry production chain.
As part of its poultry and feed investment strategy in Asia and Africa, Mitsui acquired its first JPY 3 billion stake in Zalar in 2018.