ALGERIA (7 October)

Reflecting overall favourable weather, increased plantings and improved harvest techniques, the output from the 1996 wheat crop is estimated at 2.5 million tons, about 1 million tons more than last year's below-average harvest. Production of barley almost tripled to 1.7 million tons, while oats output increased by 60 000 tons to 110 000 tons.

Imports of wheat, excluding semolina, in 1996/97 (July/June) are forecast to increase by 200 000 tons to 3.2 million tons. Imports of coarse grains, mainly maize, are forecast at 1 million tons, unchanged from 1995/96.

EGYPT (7 October)

Land preparation is underway for the planting of the wheat and barley crops to be harvested from April 1997.

Production of wheat in 1996 is estimated at 5.74 million tons, marginally higher than last year's above-average harvest despite a slight decline in the area sown. Maize and sorghum production have also increased to 5.8 million tons and 0.84 million tons, respectively from the above-average 1995 crop. In contrast, reflecting a marked decline in the area sown, production of barley is estimated to have declined substantially from the record level of 368 000 tons harvested in 1995. The output from the paddy crop, now being harvested, is estimated at an above-average level of 4.5 million tons.

Procurement price for the 1995/96 wheat crop has been set at Egyptian pounds 700 (U.S.$ 205) per ton.

Imports of wheat and wheat flour and coarse grains in 1996/97 (July/June) are forecast to remain at the previous year's level of 6 million tons and 2.6 million tons, respectively. Export availabilities of rice in the 1996/97 marketing year are estimated at more than 600 000 tons, sharply up compared to previous year's actual deliveries of some 340 000 tons.

MOROCCO (7 October)

Increased area planted and above-normal and well-distributed rains have resulted in record harvests of 1996 wheat and barley crops. Production of wheat, estimated at 5.9 million tons, was more than five times higher than last year's drought-affected crop of only 1.1 million tons. The output from the barley crop increased by 3.2 million tons to 3.8 million tons, while the recently harvested maize crop is estimated at 200 000 tons, four times larger than last year's poor harvest.

Imports of wheat in 1996/97 (July/June) are forecast to decline by 2.1 million tons to 0.9 million tons, whereas imports of coarse grains are expected to decrease by some 0.5 million tons, to 350 000 tons.

TUNISIA (7 October)

After two consecutive years of markedly reduced harvests, production of wheat reached a record level of 1.99 million tons, almost four times the drought-affected crop in 1995. Barley output, estimated at 0.86 million tons, was ten times larger than last year's crop and twice the average. These levels of production were the result of favourable weather, larger area planted and increased use of fertilizers.

The Government aims at achieving self-sufficiency in cereals within 10 years. As part of an effort to guarantee production of at least 1 million tons in drought years, Government plans include doubling the irrigated area to 120 000 hectares by the year 2000. Farmers are also invited to modernize systems of production, collection and storage.

Pasture conditions are reported to be satisfactory. Reflecting greater availability, forage prices declined considerably compared to the high levels of the last two years.

Imports of wheat in 1996/97 (July/June) are estimated to decrease by 500 000 tons to 0.5 million tons and limited to soft wheat only. Imports of maize are forecast at 150 000 tons, about 50 000 tons down compared with the previous year.