ALGERIA (6 February)
Early prospects are so far favourable for the 1999/2000 growing season. Although land preparation and planting were somewhat delayed by below-normal rainfall in September/October, conditions improved in November/December with widespread rains over most growing areas. However, more timely rains are needed during the next two months to ensure a good harvest.
The 1999 cereal crop is estimated at about 2.1 million tonnes, some 30 percent below the previous year's level. This includes 1.5 million tonnes of wheat, 25 percent below the previous year, and 660 000 tonnes of coarse grains, a 37 percent decrease. Imports of cereals, mostly wheat, are forecast at about 6 million tonnes for the 1999/2000 (July/June) marketing year.
EGYPT (7 February)
Early prospects for the mainly irrigated wheat crop, to be harvested from April are generally favourable. The area planted is expected to be about 1 million hectares, similar to 1999. However, production is expected to increase as a result of Government incentives to expand cultivation of wheat varieties with higher yield and quality, and assistance to farmers to apply better technology. The 1999 cereal output is estimated at about 17.2 million tonnes, some 10 percent over the previous year and above average. This includes 6.3 million tonnes of wheat, 5.8 million tonnes of maize and 4 million tonnes of rice.
Imports of wheat and wheat flour in 1999/2000 (July/June) are forecast at about 7 million tonnes, slightly below the previous year's level . A small decrease is also anticipated in coarse grain imports (mostly maize), forecast at about 3.3 million tonnes.
MOROCCO (7 February)
Conditions have been generally favourable so far for the 1999/2000 winter grain crops with widespread and timely rains covering most growing areas. The area sown to cereal is reported to be much higher than the average for the previous five years, largely as a result of a new Government cereal security programme being implemented over the next 3 years. However, widespread timely rains will be needed in the coming months for normal crop development.
Production of cereals in 1999 is estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, some 42 percent below the previous year's crop, due to unfavourable weather conditions. As a consequence, imports of wheat in 1999/2000 (July/June) are forecast to increase by 33 percent at 2.8 million tonnes, and coarse grains by 7 percent at 1.6 million tonnes.
TUNISIA (7 February)
Land preparation and planting of crops were somewhat delayed by below-normal rainfall and high temperatures in September/October. Conditions improved substantially in November/December with widespread rains over most growing areas. The area sown to cereals, mainly wheat, in 1999/2000 season is currently estimated at 1.4 million hectares, slightly lower than the previous year's level. Overall, prospects for harvests from May are currently favourable. However, more timely rains will be needed during the next few months to ensure a good harvest.
1999 cereal production is estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, 9 percent above the previous year. This includes 1.4 million tonnes of wheat, which is 3 percent more than in 1998. Cereals imports in 1999/2000 (July/June) are estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, mostly wheat and maize.