Reference Date: 07-February-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Delayed but abundant seasonal rains at the start of the 2013/14 cropping season
Above average cereal harvest gathered in 2013
Wheat imports expected to slightly increase in 2013/14
Annualized food inflation increases in December
Continued humanitarian assistance needed for Western Saharan refugees
The 2013/14 cropping season well underway
Planting of the 2013/14 winter wheat and coarse grains is complete. A delayed onset of seasonal rains in some central and western areas was followed by above average rainfall in November across the country, which improved soil moisture, encouraged plantings and benefited crop establishment.
Above average 2012/13 harvest despite localized rainfall deficits
The 2012/13 grain harvest was completed in August 2013. Dry conditions during planting in the autumn of 2012 were followed by favourable rainfall and moderate temperatures in the spring/summer of 2013 in western grain production areas, while some eastern regions experienced periods of drought which negatively impacted crop development and yields.
The 2013 cereal output is estimated at about 5 million tonnes, similar to last year and 17 percent higher than the previous five-year average. Wheat output, at 3.2 million tonnes, declined by 6 percent compared to last year, but is still 15 percent above average. The localized unfavourable weather conditions in parts had a limited negative impact on cereal output mainly due to the timely availability of seeds and incentives for farmers such as seasonal interest-free loans, support for farm inputs, equipment leasing, and the Rural Renewal Programme aimed at revitalising the country’s rural regions.
The two consecutive good harvests gathered in 2011/12 and 2012/13 heightened concerns about the country’s ability to store big volumes. In November 2012, the Government announced plans to increase the nation’s grain storage capacity by 1 million tonnes adding to the current storage capacity, estimated at about 5 million tonnes. A new joint venture signed in July 2013 plans to build 30 steel silos in the first phase for the Algerian Inter-Professional Office of Cereals.
Wheat imports expected to increase slightly in 2013/14
Even in years of ample domestic production, Algeria relies heavily on grain imports from the international market, with wheat being the most prominent. In the last five years, the country imported an average of almost 6 million tonnes of wheat, averaging 70 percent of its domestic utilization.
The wheat import requirement for 2013/14 (July/June), is projected to marginally increase by about 3 percent to 6.20 million tonnes compared to the 6 million tonnes in 2012/13. The countries exporting wheat to Algeria include France, Canada, Germany, the United States, Spain and Mexico.
Annualized food inflation marginally increases in December
Food accounts for 43 percent of total households’ expenditures in Algeria. Accordingly, overall inflation rates are heavily influenced by food inflation. The annualized rate of food inflation increased in November by 1.23 percent mainly due to an 11 percent increase in the price for red meat. Bread, dairy, milk, sugar and cooking oils benefit from ongoing government subsidies.
Continued humanitarian assistance needed for West Saharan refugees
Algeria has been hosting Western Saharan refugees since 1975.
The 5 main camps (Ausserd, Boujdour, Dakhla, Laayoune, and Smara), hosting about 90 000 refugees, are spread in the desert between 30 and 180 km from the south‑western town of Tindouf, in a harsh desert environment where livelihood and self-reliance opportunities are extremely limited. In addition, the area is too remote to enable the refugees to participate in the local economy.
As a result,
malnutrition rates in the camps are high.
The latest nutritional survey, carried out in October 2012 by WFP and UNHCR, has shown a limited improvement of global acute malnutrition compared to 2010 among children under the age of 5. However, the levels, at almost 8 percent, are still above the regional averages. The Food Consumption Score (the proportion of households classified as having an acceptable food consumption) at 59.5 percent has also slightly improved compared with the 2010 survey, while the nutrition status in the camps of Dakhla and Smara has markedly improved (-53 percent and -27 percent respectively from 2010).The findings of latest nutrition assessment confirmed the effectiveness of the humanitarian response (
WFP started providing basic food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees in 1986) but highlighted the total reliance of the refugees on international humanitarian assistance for their survival.
In the framework of a United Nations Global Appeal, WFP is currently assisting 90 000 beneficiaries through a Protracted Relief and Recovery operation that started in January 2013 and planned for two years, for a total cost of USD 66 million. In addition, the government provides substantive assistance to the refugees such as free access to electricity, scholarship for secondary and high school education, grants in kind given by the Algerian population and distributed by the Algerian Red Crescent.