UPDATE 1-Morocco says it expects cereals harvest of 9.8 million tonnes

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RABAT, April 30 (Reuters) - Morocco expects a cereals harvest of 9.8 million tonnes this year, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday, three times more than in 2020, citing better rainfall.

It expects 4.82 million tonnes of soft wheat, 2.34 million tonnes of durum and 2.6 million tonnes of barley.

Morocco plans to raise customs duty on soft wheat and durum to help local farmers benefit from this year's strong harvest and to cut imports, after having earlier suspended duty on the cereals until May to ensure stable supply.

Morocco usually imports 2 million-3 million tonnes of soft wheat, mostly from France, depending on local output. (Reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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