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Moroccan Wheat-Crop Outlook Is Poor After Sowing Delay, UN Says

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Morocco’s prospects for wheat and coarse grains are “generally poor” after rain in November delayed planting into December and January, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said.

Unusually low February temperatures may have damaged crops in fields, the Rome-based UN agency said in a report on its website today. Satellite observations indicate less vegetation and suggest a likely yield decline, it said.

Morocco is North Africa’s third-largest wheat buyer behind Egypt and Algeria. Domestic production fluctuates “markedly” based on annual weather conditions, affecting Moroccan import requirements, according to the FAO.

“Even in good years, the country relies heavily on wheat imports from the international market to cover its consumption needs,” the FAO said. “Given mixed prospects for this year’s crop, cereal import requirements are expected to increase.”

Morocco will import 5.52 million metric tons of cereals in the year through June, falling from 6.38 million tons in 2010-11, the FAO forecast. Coarse grains include corn, barley and sorghum.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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