December 7, 2017 / 10:27 AM / in 6 days

Mali 2017/18 rice output up 5 percent -agriculture ministry

BAMAKO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Malian rice production rose nearly 5 percent this season, statistics from the agriculture ministry showed on Thursday, aided by government fertilizer subsidies and more productive rice varieties.

Output for the 2017/18 season in West Africa’s second biggest rice producer rose to 2.92 million tonnes from 2.78 million the previous year, preliminary figures showed.

It fell short of previous government forecasts of 3 million tonnes, in part because of a lack of rainfall which has also hampered cotton production.

“Despite rainfall problems, rice production is good. Production in areas with total water control...offset the decline in production in non-irrigated areas,” said Balla Keita, deputy director of the ministry’s planning and statistics unit.

Mali has a forecast surplus of 584,000 tonnes of rice, up from 565,000 tonnes last year, Keita said.

The rice growing season runs from April to March and has two phases. Production runs from May/June to September/October and marketing runs from October/November through late March.

Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; writing by Edward McAllister; editing by Jason Neely

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