EGYPT (3 February)
Planting of the 2005 wheat and barley crops has been completed under normal weather conditions, while land is being prepared for maize and paddy planting from April. The area planted to wheat has been provisionally estimated at about 1.249 million hectares, higher than 2004 level.
Aggregate cereal production in 2004 was 21.39 million tonnes, which compares to 20.65 million tonnes in 2003 and the average of 19.88 million tonnes in the past five years. The output of the mainly irrigated wheat crop is estimated at 7.18 million tonnes, up 5 percent on the above average production of 2003. Barley output is estimated to have increased to 163 000 tonnes compared to the good crop harvested the previous year, driven mainly by a significant expansion in the area sown.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2004/05 (July/June) are expected to increase by some 4 percent to 7.2 million tonnes. Imports of maize, mostly used as animal feed, are forecast at about 4.8 million tonnes, about 100 000 tonnes more than the previous year.