The Moroccan government is to evaluate debt repayment of over 120,000 small and medium-sized local farms that have suffered financial losses due to ongoing drought conditions in the country, reported the Al-Hayat daily.
The farmers have previously demanded that the government consider writing off or rescheduling their debt, valued at nine billion Moroccan dirhams ($780 million), with the aid of the National Fund of Agricultural Credit (CNCA).
A senior government official stated that the farmers’ request is likely to be granted, and that a financial support program for the supply of drinking water and fodder at a subsidized cost of seven billion Moroccan dirhams would be established.
CNCA, which has a capital of Dh 1.6 billion and more than 230 agencies throughout Morocco, was established by the government in 1961 to promote investments in the agriculture sector, including the allocation of loans to small farmers. In April, the Moroccan parliament examined a bill aimed at reforming the state-run CNCA and opening its capital to private investors, according to a Reuters report.
In March of last year the Moroccan agriculture department announced that the farmers would have their debts written off. At the time, Agriculture Minister Habib Malki had announced before the parliament the CNCA decided to write off debts not exceeding Dh 10,000.
The agricultural sector plays a key role in the Moroccan economy, employing nearly 40 percent of the 11-million strong local labor force. It contributes, however, only 17 percent of Morocco’s total GDP. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )