March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Morocco, North Africa’s third-largest wheat importer, is distributing barley for livestock after crops were damaged by dry weather.
The backup plan to preserve livestock started two weeks ago, and “other measures can be planned and programmed depending on how the situation develops,” the Agriculture Ministry in Rabat said in an e-mailed response to questions. Crop damage will be assessed when the season ends, it said.
Jamal Hakimi, who cultivates about 100 hectares (247 acres) of wheat and potatoes in Berrechid in central Morocco, said his crops were destroyed.
“This year is exceptional because it’s the worst drought since 1981,” he said. “The price of barley has tripled. There is no other solution than to import more.”
Morocco may import the most wheat in at least a half century in the 12 months beginning in July after rain delayed planting and cold curbed crop development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report this month. The nation may buy 5.6 million metric tons, from 3.2 million tons a year earlier, the service said. Barley imports will jump to 1 million tons, from 510,000 tons, as output slumps to 900,000 tons from 2.34 million tons, the FAS said.
Rainfall this season through this month is the lowest since 2006-07, according to the ministry. Egypt and Algeria are North Africa’s largest wheat importers.
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