RABAT- Morocco will reimpose customs duty on soft and hard wheat of 135% and 170% respectively from May 15 in order to cut imports at a time of higher prices in international market, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.
The government had said last week the duties would be reintroduced from June 1, but did not specify the rates.
The import duties had been suspended until May 15 to ensure price stability and steady supply after Morocco experienced two consecutive years of drought that slashed harvests.
Following abundant rainfall, Morocco expects a cereals harvest of 9.8 million tonnes this year, up 206% from last season. The harvest includes 4.82 million tonnes of soft wheat, 2.34 million tonnes of durum and 2.6 million tonnes of barley.
The government set a reference price for standard quality soft wheat of 280 dirhams per 100 kg, the ministry added.
Incentives to encourage use of domestically grown wheat include a flat rate subsidy of 5 dirhams ($0.51) per 100 kg of soft wheat to millers using local output.
Another benefits is a premium of 2 dirhams per 100 kg per 15 days for storage agencies valid until Dec. 31, the agriculture ministry added.
Morocco usually imports 2-3 million tonnes of soft wheat, mostly from France, annually depending on local output. ($1 = 8.8 dirhams)
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Mark Heinrich) ((email@example.com;))