Lhe livestock sector is going through difficult times. Despite the subsidies allocated by the State to support livestock feed, the cost of production has reached historic records. The operators try to pass on this increase to the selling prices of the products. Thus, for sheep intended for Aid Al-Adha, the price of the bergui breed is negotiated from 55 to 56 DH/kilo, whereas it fluctuated between 40 and 45 DH/kilo, a year earlier.
The Sardi varies from 60 to 62 DH/Kilo, an increase of more than 20% compared to last year. Everything suggests that by the time the Feast of the Sacrifice approaches, these prices will increase. Farmers mention the increase in the cost of inputs. A phenomenon observed on the side of other types of livestock, with a strong impact on the dairy sector. The fellahs believe that faced with the rise in production prices, the selling price of dairy products has not increased and their margins have been seriously penalized.
“Unlike sheep, which are resistant to drought and adapt better to climatic hazards, cattle, especially purebred or crossbred dairy cows, are capricious. They require practically the same supply of forage units throughout the year to ensure a balanced yield. We have experienced a real ordeal with the increase in cattle feed. The subsidies granted by the State concern only compound feed and a certain variety of barley. The two products are insufficient to meet the needs of the animals., emphasizes Mohamed Taki, president of a cooperative in Benslimane. To obtain good quality products, breeders try to diversify their livestock feed. The prices of other products have doubled or even tripled.
Thus, the price of a bundle of alfalfa went from 55 to 100 DH. That of the bale of straw last year was fixed on average at 15 DH/kilo; it is currently at 30 DH. The price of beets was 1.40 DH/kilo, it reached 3.50 DH. That of oats was at 3.60 DH/kilo, it now peaks at 6.50 DH/kilo. For the prices of fattening or dairy beans, they are currently at 8 DH/kilo against 3.50 DH previously. Farmers deplore the fact that dairy companies have increased the price of certain consumer products without passing on the benefit to them.
Indeed, the price of 1 liter whole UHT milk from Copag went from 8.40 DH to 9.30 DH (+ 90 cents), while semi-skimmed UHT milk 1 L went from 8.90 DH to 10 .50 (+ 1.60 DH), as well as 0% UHT milk. When contacted about this, Copag explained that “The production of this kind of product requires inputs and special packaging imported from abroad at prices that have risen a lot in recent times. But the price of normal milk remained unchanged”. For their part, breeders are trying to adapt to these new circumstances by trying to favor derivative products. It is a question of diversifying their customers outside of dairy companies and cooperatives.
“The price of milk sold to cooperatives and dairy companies is 2.50 DH/litre during the high lactation period (generally between February and June). It goes to 3 DH during the low lactation period. This season, the low lactation period has been extended due to the drought. Farmers could not therefore rely too much on natural rangelands to reduce feed costs., says a breeder in the region of Médiouna. And explain that “to circumvent the diktat of cooperatives and dairy companies whose milk price is not very flexible, they prefer to sell derivative products such as whey, butter and milk in the parallel circuit, such as dairies (mahlaba) where prices are more attractive.