Although rainfall in April eased the effect of earlier drought on crops, output of winter crops is expected to be well below last year. Wheat output in 1997 is estimated at some 1.5 million tons, 46 percent lower than last year. The production of barley is estimated at 0.7 million tons, 58 percent lower than the previous year.
Imports of wheat, excluding semolina, in 1997/98 (July/June) are forecast at 3 million tons and coarse grains, mainly maize, 1 million tons.
Low numbers of solitary adult locusts are expected to persist in a few places in the Sahara and will slowly move south towards the sahel.
EGYPT (18 June)
Favourable weather conditions until April were followed by strong dust storms and high temperatures in May, negatively affecting crops. Yields were also affected by trust disease. As a result, wheat production in 1997 is estimated at about 5.5 million tons, some 4 percent lower than last yearís output. Barley output is expected to increase by some 2 percent to 123 000 tons from 120 000 tons in 1996. Due to a shortage of water, the output of paddy is estimated at 3 million tons, a 39 percent decrease from previous yearís production of 4.9 million tons.
Imports of wheat and wheat flour in 1997/98 (July/June) are forecast at 6.2 million tons, similar to last year. Imports of coarse grains in 1997/98 (July/June), mainly maize, are expected to remain at the same level as in last marketing year.
MOROCCO (18 June)
The outlook for wheat, harvested from mid-June, remains uncertain. Rains in April were too late to benefit crops which had been adversely affected by unfavourable weather since the beginning of the season. Production of wheat in 1997/98 is estimated at 3.35 millions tons, well below last yearís good harvest. The output of barley is expected to decrease by some 35 percent from last year to 2.5 million tons, whilst maize output is estimated at 200 000 tons, about 15 percent lower than last yearís harvest.
Low numbers of solitary adult Locusts are expected to persist and may breed along the southern side of the Atlas Mountains and in Oued Draa. This number will decline as adults move south towards Algeria.
Following a drop in domestic output, imports of wheat in 1997/98 (July/June) are forecast to increase considerably to about 2.5 million tons from 1 million tons in the previous year. Imports of coarse grains, mainly maize and barley, are also likely to increase markedly from last year.
TUNISIA (18 June)
Below-normal rainfall during the growing season, mainly in central and southern regions, resulted in a reduction in plantings. Total area sown in 1997 is estimated at some 1 million hectares, some 50 percent below last year. Wheat production (mostly durum wheat) in 1997 is estimated at 645 000 tons, some 70 percent below last year. The production of barley is estimated at 250 000 tons, about 70 percent lower than in the previous year.
Given the low level of domesticís output in 1997, imports of wheat in 1997/98 (July/June) and those of coarse grains are forecast to increase sharply from last year to meet domestic requirements.