Monday, May 08, 2006

Morocco sees 75pc increase in cereal output

Morocco is expecting cereals output to come in 75 per cent higher this year versus 2005 on better weather that spurred farmers to sow larger acreages, a government forecasts body said.

The Finance Ministry's Studies and Financial Forecasts Directory cited in a report published on Monday good conditions and expanded sowed areas among the factors behind the expected bumper cereals crop.

It said well distributed rainfall over the past eight months was more than 30 per cent higher than the same period last year when Morocco harvested about 4.0 million tonnes of cereals because of drought.

'The areas sowed in cereals totaled 5.2 million hectares, 2.0 per cent up compared to the previous period,' it added.

The drought last year cut cereals output to around 4.0 million tonnes from an average of 6.0 million tonnes in the last decade that slashed economic growth to 1.8 per cent in 2005 from an average growth of 4.8 per cent in the 2001-2004 period.

'All the positive factors are sure signs that the level of 70 million quintals (7.0 million tonnes) of cereals harvest of this year would be easily reached,' the department said.

It added: 'That will be an increase of 10 milion quintals (1.0 million) tonnes compared to the (6.0 million tonnes) level of cereals harvest forecast earlier this year by the government'.

The government and the International Monetary Fund expect Morocco's economy to grow by more than 6 per cent this year from an earlier growth forecast of 5.4 per cent on projected strong farming output.


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