ALGERIA (27 March)
Despite delayed planting of winter grains in several areas because of insufficient precipitation at the beginning of the growing season, conditions improved at the end of 2000 and in January 2001, with abundant and widespread rains over growing areas. Little precipitation was received in February and March, except in the north-western part of the country. Prospects are uncertain for the 2001 crops, to be harvested from May. Favourable conditions in the next two months will be crucial for a recovery in cereal production from the 2000 level of about 1.1 million tonnes, which was well below average.
EGYPT (27 March)
Growing conditions are satisfactory for the largely irrigated wheat and barley crops planted in October/November for harvest in April/May. Good rainfall in February also provided conditions to cultivate more land for wheat and barley in Lower Egypt. Overall, the area planted to wheat and barley is estimated at about 1.1 million hectares, which is slightly above the 2000 level. Preparation has started for the planting of the 2001 rice crop. The 2000 paddy crop is estimated at about 6 million tonnes, some 3 percent over the previous year's above average level.
MOROCCO (27 March)
Rainfall has been generally abundant this year in most growing areas, with the exception of the sahelian zone of the country. The wheat and barley crops are reported to be in good condition and water reservoirs are being replenished, particularly in the northern areas where precipitation continued to be received in late February and early March. The area sown to wheat and other cereals is reported to be close to the level of the previous five-years average. Production is expected to be more than double last year's poor output of about 2 million tonnes, provided favourable conditions prevail in the next two months.
TUNISIA (27 March)
Growing conditions have been generally favourable for winter grains this year in the northern region, the main producing area of the country. Significant rains continued to benefit crop development in March and a good harvest is in prospect. However, conditions have been less favourable in the centre and the south, where crops have been adversely affected by a prolonged dry spell. The resulting low soil moisture levels are likely to affect overall yields in these areas. The area sown to cereals in 2000/01, mainly wheat, is estimated at 1.24 million hectares, which is below the previous year's level, due to low rainfall in main growing areas at the time of planting. Overall, a recovery in production from last year's poor harvest is expected, but the size will depend on conditions during the next two months.