Soaring inflation is driving up living costs and stirring public discontent in Morocco. As food prices increase, the country's export-led agricultural model is coming under fire. On April 8, protesters gathered outside parliament in the capital Rabat, with some saying, 'the rise in prices is a disgrace' and 'we're an agricultural country, but vegetables are too expensive.'
Official figures from February put year-on-year inflation in the North African country at just over 10 percent, a figure that also included a 20 percent jump in food prices. The price of fresh produce in Morocco is almost as high as in some Western European supermarkets, but the minimum wage for Moroccans is just €275 a month.
Faced with growing criticism, Agriculture Minister Mohamed Sadiki attributed high food prices to "external and cyclical factors" such as the rising cost of raw materials and a cold snap that delayed the picking of tomatoes. Sadiki told a press conference in early April that despite the impact of climate factors such as drought, agriculture accounts for 13 percent of Morocco's GDP and 14 percent of its exports.