Algeria sets up strategy to boost local cereal production, reduc import bill

ALGERIA – Algeria is implementing a new policy for the agriculture sector aimed to achieve food security, increase domestic production and reduce imports of some expensive commodities, by encouraging local investments.

According to the Algerian Customs data, total cereal imports from January to November 2020 increased by 2.65% in value terms compared to the same period in 2019, due mostly to corn.

The report indicates an increase in imports as 8.62% rise for corn while wheat declined by 8.6%. In addition, soybean meal imports fell by 34.9% as soybean imports are taking over the soybean meal market following investments in crushing plants encouraging local manufacturing.

During the period under review, the country imported US$7.36 billion in foodstuffs from January to November 2020. Cereals accounted for 33.7 percent of the total food imports in value.

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Algeria aims to significantly reduce agricultural commodities imports by US$2.5 billion

USDA

The imported cereal were mainly wheat (58.29 percent) representing US$1.45 billion from US$1.59 billion, and corn (32.22 percent) representing US$801.33 million from US$737.73 million of 2019.

The country’s soybean meal imports was values at US$303.16 million with overall pulses imports falling from US$212.49 million in January-November 2019 to US$175.24 million in the same period in 2020.

The new five-year road-map (2020-2024), aims to significantly reduce agricultural commodities imports by US$2.5 billion.

With this strategy, the government aims to reduce the import bill for bread (common) wheat by (US$400 million), corn by (US$17.6 million), vegetable oils by (US$983 million), sugar by (US$555 million), industrial tomatoes by (US$55 million) and potato seeds by (US$42 million) as well as garlic by (US$12 million).

One of the ways of achieving the goal is by boosting local production through supplemental irrigation.

The MOA indicated that Algeria’s (2020-2021) agricultural season foresees a good crop harvest if the strategy is well implemented.

The 2020-2021 plantings were launched on October 5, 2020 from the Sahara, with 3.5 million hectares (Ha) allocated to cereals for the planting season, this is an increase compared to 3.2 million Ha from last year.

The government has also made available certified seeds and fertilizers in sufficient quantities for the planting season, in addition to the organizational, technical, and financial arrangements made to ensure optimum mobilization of all stakeholders in the field to help the farmers.

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The Ministry has not yet released any figures regarding the MY2020/MY21 grain harvest, however Minister of Agriculture, Abdelhamid Hemdani indicated that if yields increase by 10 to 20 percent, quantities of wheat to be imported will be reduced.

According to reports by USDA, opportunities exist for suppliers of silos as the MoA will launch a series of silos construction projects.

The goal is to construct 15 metal silos with a storage capacity of 4.2 million quintals (420,000 MT), and 16 metal silos with 2.5 million quintals (250,000 MT) storage capacity along with a collection center for cereals.

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