A survey conducted for April-end 2001 reveals that 20 percent of Morocco’s arable land is uncultivated. This figure reflects an increase, compared with the 14 percent unused land found for the beginning of April, reported that Al-Hayat newspaper.
A senior source in the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry estimated the registered losses at one million hectares, as Morocco’s total cultivable land is estimated at five million hectares. Crops in these fields were ultimately destroyed as a result of late rainfall. The same source anticipates the damage will extend 30 percent by next month.
The ministry estimates that the kingdom’s wheat imports will reach five million tons by the end of 2001. Last year, Morocco spent $650 million on wheat imports. Nearly the same amount was also distributed to local wheat farmers, who suffered heavy drought losses.
In addition, the Moroccan Fruit Association reported that its fruit exports to European Union markets have declined by 41 percent since the outset of 2001.
The agricultural sector plays a key role in the Moroccan economy, employing nearly 40 percent of the 11-million strong local labor force. It contributes, however, only 17 percent of Morocco’s total GDP. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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