Skip to main content
EU Science Hub
General publications22 May 2023Joint Research Centre1 min read

Long lasting drought led to crop failures in the Maghreb

The May edition of the JRC MARS Bulletin - Global outlook for North Africa - describes one of the worst droughts in recent decades in the Maghreb area.

Drought conditions
Dry conditions prevailed during the 2022-2023 cereal campaign in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, negatively affecting winter crops since the flowering stage and accelerating ripening at the expense of primary production.
© James Frid -

Drought conditions were particularly intense in March, negatively affecting the photosynthesis of winter cereals since the flowering stage, and accelerating ripening in April at the expense of primary production. This resulted in a downward revision of yield forecasts and in high probability of crop failures for several cereal-producing regions of the Maghreb. On the other hand, average to above-average production is expected in Libya and Egypt, where weather conditions have been more favourable and most of the crops are irrigated.


  • Morocco (MA): negative outlook for cereal production. Barley and wheat performed badly in most of the main regions. Cereals are in an advanced ripening stage.
  • Algeria (DZ): crop growth is well below average in most of the main cereal-producing regions. Drought was most pronounced during the flowering and grain filling stages. Cereals are in an advanced ripening stage.
  • Tunisia (TN): a compromised season is confirmed. High probability of crop failures in the northern inland regions.
  • Libya (LY): average to positive growing conditions due to moderate fluctuations of daily temperatures despite below-average rainfall. Cereals are ready for harvesting.
  • Egypt (EG): average to above-average expectations for cereal production. Crops are faring well thanks to the predominately irrigated arable land. Harvesting is about to begin.

Observed canopy conditions

Cumulated fAPAR relative anomalies for Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia
Cumulated fAPAR relative anomalies for Libya and Egypt

NDVI relative anomaly maps: the maps display differences between the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fAPAR) computed from remote sensing imagery between 11 February to 10 May 2023, and the medium-term average (2013-2022) fAPAR for the same period. Positive anomalies (in green) reflect above-average canopy density, while negative anomalies (in red) reflect below-average canopy density.

Yield forecasts

MARS NA yield forecasts

Further information

JRC MARS (Monitoring Agricultural Resources) Bulletins


The latest information about global agricultural production hotspots for countries at risk of food insecurity is available on the JRC’s ASAP (Anomaly hot Spots of Agricultural Production).


Publication date
22 May 2023
Joint Research Centre
JRC portfolios

More news on a similar topic