MOROCCO (6 February)
Normal to above-normal rains since December are reported for most of the growing areas, with the exception of some parts in the south and the west of the country. Planting of the winter cereals has been completed for harvesting from May. The number of swarms of desert locusts have reportedly decreased significantly across the country due to intensive control operations and unusually cold temperatures in January. Above-average plantings of wheat and barley are provisionally estimated. Crops are developing satisfactorily and prospects are generally favourable, notably in the important grain-producing area of central Morocco. Early forecasts point to satisfactory outputs in 2005, but lower than in 2004 when aggregate cereal production was over 78 percent above the past five-year average.
Reflecting two consecutive years of bumper harvests, imports of cereals in the marketing year 2004/05 (July/June) are forecast to decline to about 3.1 million tonnes.