Russia has become the primary wheat supplier to Morocco, overtaking France © Westend61/Getty Images

Russian grain has traditionally been sold in North African markets due to competitive pricing and logistical convenience, Denis Ternovsky, a leading researcher at the Center for Agricultural Policy of the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEI) RANEPA, said on Tuesday. He was speaking after the Russian Ministry of Agriculture announced that domestic grain exporters would be turning their focus to key markets in North Africa.

Russia has become the primary wheat supplier to Morocco, overtaking France, which had held the position since 2019. A local news agency reported the African country had imported over 61,800 tons of wheat from Russia, accounting for about 26% of all wheat imports in May. Poland became the second-largest supplier after Russia, while France dropped to third place.

“We [Morocco] always prefer value for money. It turned out that, during May, Russian prices were more competitive than those offered by other suppliers. Hence the preference of Moroccan operators for Russian wheat,” said Omar Al-Yaqoubi, president of the National Federation of Cereals and Legumes Traders (FNCL).

Speaking at the ‘Russia-Africa’ conference during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian Deputy Minister for Agriculture Sergey Levin noted that Russian agricultural exports to Africa had risen by 25% in 2023 compared to the previous year. He said the upward trend is continuing.

“Over the past year, [Russian] exports to Africa have increased by a quarter, nearly reaching $6 billion, with 80% of that being wheat,” Levin stated.

In February, Moscow successfully completed the delivery of 200,000 tons of free wheat to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Chad, and Eritrea as part of a humanitarian initiative announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in July 2023. (RT)