FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.1, March 2001

NORTHERN AFRICA

ALGERIA (20 February)

Planting of the 2000/01 season crop is almost completed. Despite initial concerns over delays in rainfall at the beginning of the season, conditions improved in January with beneficial rains over growing areas. However, more timely rains are needed during the next two to three months for crops to reach maturity and to ensure a good harvest. The 2000 cereal harvest is estimated at about 1.1 million tonnes, 35 percent below the 1999 below average output, as a result of inadequate rainfall during the growing season.

Imports of cereals for the 2000/01 marketing year (July/June) are expected to reach 7.3 million tonnes, including 5.5 million tonnes of wheat.

EGYPT (5 February)

Area planted to wheat and barley in 2001 is expected to be comparable to the previous year’s good level of about one million hectares , thanks to government incentives to increase production. Early prospects are generally favourable for the mainly irrigated crop, harvesting of which normally starts in April.

The 2000 cereal production (milled equivalent) stands at about 18 million tonnes, some 3 percent over the previous year’s above average crop. This includes some 6.6 million tonnes of wheat, 7.3 million tonnes of coarse grains and about 4.2 million tonnes of rice (milled).

Imports of wheat in 2000/01 (July/June) are forecast at 6.8 million tonnes and coarse grains, mostly maize, at 4.2 million tonnes.

MOROCCO (5 February)

Growing conditions have been generally favourable so far for the 2000/01 crops with normal to above normal rains received over most growing areas, with the exception of the south and parts of the centre. However, the area planted to cereals, reported at 3.4 million hectares at the beginning of the year, including 270 000 hectares of irrigated areas, is so far below the five year average, largely as a result of inadequate rainfall in the southern areas. More timely rains will be needed in the coming months for crops to reach maturity. Cereal production in 2000 is estimated at about 2 million tonnes, 53 percent of last year's below average crop, as a result of adverse weather conditions during the second half of the growing season. Consequently, imports of wheat in 2000/01 (July/June) are forecast to increase to about 3.2 million tonnes, some 14 percent above last year’s level.

TUNISIA (5 February)

Conditions are generally favourable so far for the 2000/01 winter crops to be harvested from May. Farming activities at the beginning of the season were somewhat delayed by below- normal rainfall but conditions improved in December/January with widespread rains over most growing areas. However, more timely rains will be needed during the next few months to ensure a good harvest. It is anticipated that some 1.4 million hectares will be sown to cereals, mainly wheat, in the 2000/01 season, about the same as the previous year's level.

Cereal production in 2000 is estimated at about one million tonnes, some 40 percent below the previous year and much below average. Imports of cereals in 2000/01 (July/June), mostly wheat and maize, are forecast at about 1.8 million tonnes.


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