(Bloomberg) -- Morocco will cut back exports of its mainly Europe-bound tomatoes, seeking to tame a pre-Ramadan surge in local prices for a key component of the kingdom’s cuisine.
The move, which was reported by local media including the state-owned 2M broadcaster, adds to a raft of crop protectionism worldwide. The war in Ukraine is accelerating food inflation that was already heading up, spurring governments to ensure domestic supplies by restricting trade abroad. Argentina is blocking export registrations for soybean meal, while Indonesia tightened control over palm oil sales. Nearby Egypt banned exports of staples like lentils.
Morocco’s sends about 430,000 tons of tomatoes to the European Union each year, making it the bloc’s largest outside supplier. Drought in the North African country has caused the price of one of Morocco’s cheapest fresh staple foods to surge over the past few weeks. Inflation has stoked rare protests.
2M said export curbs would halve the local price for tomatoes to less than 5 dirhams ($0.51) per kilo. Casablanca-based Goud.ma also reported that Morocco is banning exports of chickpeas. Both are main ingredients of harira, a dish many Moroccans enjoy on a near-daily basis.
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