Morocco’s combined production of soft wheat, durum wheat and barley fell 39 percent in the 2011- 12 crop year after dry weather hurt yields, the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry reported.
The harvest of the country’s three main grains slid to 5.1 million metric tons after a lack of rain in February and March, the ministry wrote in an online report yesterday. Average yields dropped 38 percent to 1.01 tons a hectare (2.47 acres).
Morocco is North Africa’s third-biggest wheat importer behind Algeria and Egypt. The country is a net buyer of grain even in good years, and the poor harvest means cereal imports will probably increase, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization.
“The low temperatures that characterized the months of February and March nonetheless contributed favorably to attenuating the negative effects of the lack of rains,” the ministry wrote.
Weather conditions that improved at the end of March and in April, with cumulative rainfall of 62 millimeters (2.4 inches), had a “very beneficial” effect on production and grain quality, according to the ministry.
Soft-wheat production was 2.74 million tons, the durum- wheat harvest amounted to 1.13 million tons and farmers reaped 1.2 million tons of barley, the ministry wrote. The FAO in May had forecast the wheat crop would fall to 2.7 million tons and barley output to 900,000 tons.
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