In a bid to manage soaring meat prices, Morocco has dramatically increased its live animal imports this year by approximately 292.5%, bringing the cost to around 1 billion dirhams ($110 million) as of the end of May, according to data from the Exchange Office.
The expenditure on live animals, intended primarily for feed, has seen a rise from 240 million dirhams ($26 million) during the first five months of the previous year to 942 million dirhams ($103 million) in the corresponding period this year, marking an increase close to 702 million dirhams ($77 million).
Confronted with skyrocketing meat prices, which have surged to over 100 dirhams per kilogram due to the national herd’s decimation from drought, limited grazing resources, and expensive feed costs, Morocco has pivoted to importing cattle from diverse countries, including Brazil, France, and Spain.
Historically, the average price of red meat in Morocco seldom exceeded 70 dirhams per kilogram. However, the onset of this year witnessed prices breaking all previous benchmarks, prompting the government to extend support to importers in an effort to control these prices. This initiative, however, failed to make a significant impact as prices persistently remained high.
In addition, Morocco has incentivized the import of livestock, notably from Spain, to reinforce the national supply during Eid al-Adha. A financial aid amounting to 500 dirhams for each head of the sheep imported from abroad was introduced, demonstrating the government’s endeavor to cap prices.
Even though the availability of animals intended for Eid al-Adha outpaced demand — with around 7.8 million heads as opposed to an approximate demand of 5.6 million — prices in various markets continued to be elevated.
The High Commission for Planning’s data reveals that the average cost of an Eid sacrifice this year came close to 2,400 dirhams, up from 2,000 dirhams in 2019. This signifies an increment of 400 dirhams, largely due to inflation, recurring years of drought, and surging feed costs, which have considerably affected the profit margins of farmers, especially those operating on a smaller scale.