GIEWS country profile: Algeria 02-Aug-2021 – Algeria

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FOOD SECURITY OVERVIEW

  • Cereal production lower than the average harvested in 2021

  • Wheat import requirements are expected to increase

  • Slow economic recovery, rising price inflation

Cereal harvest below average in 2021

The 2021 winter grain harvest is expected to be completed in mid-August. Being largely rainfed, cereal yields are highly variable and depend on the amount and distribution of rainfall. The sowing of cereals took place under favorable climatic conditions. However, in mid-February 2021, drought prevailed in most growing areas following below-average rainfall since mid-January. Although subsequent adequate rains contributed to a partial resumption of harvest conditions in the northeast of the country, drought conditions prevailed elsewhere. Combined with the impact on yields of unusually high temperatures for the season, a slightly below average wheat production of 2.5 million tonnes is expected. Total cereal production in 2021 is estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, below the five-year average and about 38 percent below the previous year.

At the end of 2020, the government put in place a 2020-2024 roadmap strategy to develop the common wheat, corn, sugar and oilseed sectors with the aim of reducing the annual food import bill. In the wheat sector, for example, extensive irrigation modernization is expected to increase yields from the current 2 tonnes / hectare to 5-6 tonnes / hectare, ultimately producing around 7 million tonnes of wheat per year by 2024. (depending on whether the irrigation is complementary or not or full).

In March 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture launched a world agricultural census of farms and livestock. The last census was carried out in 2001. The evaluation of the herd will be supported by the use of drones.

Increase in wheat imports in 2021/22

Even in years when domestic production is abundant, the country relies heavily on grain imports, common wheat being the most important. Over the past five years, the country’s import requirements have averaged about 7.6 million tonnes per year, mainly soft wheat which accounts for about 70 percent of domestic use.

Due to the lower domestic harvest in 2021, wheat import requirements for marketing year 2021/22 (July / June) are expected to reach 8.1 million tonnes, about 25 percent above the imports from the previous year and 7 percent above average. The country imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico. For the first time since 2016, the Russian Federation shipped wheat to Algeria in June 2021. About 5 million tonnes of maize, intended for animal feed, is also expected to be imported.

Slow economic recovery, rising price inflation

The country depends on oil and natural gas exports for its export earnings. A sharp drop in world oil prices in 2020 reduced export earnings. Mainly due to a decline in the oil sector and the effects of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy contracted 5.5% year-on-year in 2020, compared to growth of 0.8% in 2019. High unemployment rates prevail, affecting the purchasing power of the population. Despite the government’s plans to diversify the economy and resume hydrocarbon exports, the economic recovery in 2021 is expected to be sluggish, constrained by the slowness of the vaccination campaign.

In April 2021 (latest data available), the annual rate of general price inflation was recorded at 5.7%, the highest level since 2018. During the same month, food prices increased by 7.4% over one year, against levels close to 0% in the second half of 2020. Part of the rise in inflation is attributed to the depreciation of the national currency: 1 USD in July 2021 was equivalent to around 135 DZD, against 128 DZD in July 2020.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area. or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or limits.


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