ALGERIA – OAIC, Algeria’s state grains agency issued an international tender to buying wheat sourced from optimal origins, European traders whose deadline was 22nd October 2019, reports Reuters.

According to the tender, the agency sought at least 50,000 tonnes but the country often buys more in its tenders than the nominal volume sought.

The wheat is set for shipment in two periods, Dec. 1-15 2019 and Dec. 16-312019. If sourced from South Africa, shipment is between Nov. 1-15 2019 and Nov. 16-30 2019.

In its last reported tender on Sept. 18, OAIC bought up to 600,000 tonnes of wheat for shipment in Nov. 1-15 2019 and Nov. 16-30 2019, after Algeria caused concern among wheat exporters by apparently skipping October imports.

Algeria is forecast to import 7 million tonnes of wheat in the year 2019-2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service.

The country imported 7.5 million tonnes in the year 2018- 2019 a reduction from 8.1 million imported in 2017-2018.

Algeria is a major consumer of cereals and considers wheat as the major staple food mainly for bread and couscous.

The country’s wheat consumption has risen slightly in the past years as a result of increased urbanization, population growth and increased milling capacity.

Post forecasts total wheat consumption at 10.600 MMT in MY2019/20

Cereals always account for an important part of Algerian food imports hitting US$ 3.09 billion in calendar year 2018 representing 36.09 percent of total imports, according to the Algerian Customs figures.

Although domestic production has improved over the years, it remains weather driven, and does not meet domestic demand. Therefore, Algeria continues to import wheat, essentially common wheat.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), 3.55 million ha were dedicated to grain plantings of which 1.58 million ha were planted in the eastern region.

The eastern region represents 46 percent of the cereal production area of the country.