ALGERIA – In a move aimed at curbing rising prices in the domestic market, Algeria has authorized the import of red and white meat after a decision by the executive on September 10, 2023.

This decision has opened avenues for local operators to explore new sources of supply. One of the outcomes of this policy shift is the impending arrival of a shipment of 20 tonnes of vacuum-packed meat from Ireland, marking the first such shipment in 30 years.

The Emerald Isle Beef Producers (EIBP), a leading beef producer organization in Ireland, is responsible for the shipment.

According to Eamon Corley, a founding member of EIBP, this marks the initiation of a slaughter contract with the Algerian importer, Al Mawashi Group.

The successful conclusion of this transaction could pave the way for regular deliveries of Irish beef to the Algerian halal-certified meat market.

“We hope to send containers of fresh beef every week to meet demand in Algeria,” Corley stated.

This initiative by Algerian operators aligns with a broader strategy to diversify their sources of live livestock.

Notably, the country has banned imports of live cattle from France, its primary supplier, due to concerns about epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EMD), a potentially fatal viral pathology for livestock.

Algeria, which imports an average of 103,889 head of cattle per year, is seeking to secure alternative sources.

In 2022, the country was the third-largest consumer of beef in Africa, with a stock of 144,000 tonnes. The move to import Irish beef reflects efforts to bolster food security and economic resilience in Algeria, where agriculture plays a crucial role.

The red meat sector in Algeria has witnessed a 19% growth in 20 years, fueled by increased cash flow into beef production. However, challenges related to production, consumption, and import must be addressed to sustain the current consumption rate of 20 kg per capita per year.

The majority of transactions in the red meat sector take place in local livestock markets, with demand and supply dynamics influencing price levels.

Local production of red meat in Algeria includes cattle, sheep, and goats, with an estimated annual production of 320,000 tons.

Additionally, more than 330,000 locally produced cattle are slaughtered annually, contributing to a total meat production of nearly 120,000 tons.

The consumption of red meat in Algeria has increased over the past two decades, reaching 11 kg per capita per year.

However, this level is still significantly lower than that of developed countries due to the high cost of fresh red meat in Algeria.