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Country Briefs

  Algeria

Reference Date: 10-May-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Generally favourable crop conditions although some localized dryness persists in North East

  2. Wheat imports about same as last year

  3. Annualized food inflation increasing since December 2016

Generally favourable crop conditions although some dryness persists in North East

Harvesting of winter grains normally starts in mid-June and continues until mid-August. Current crop conditions in the northwest part of the country are generally favourable with good soil moisture levels due to abundant rainfall in the first three months of the year eliminating dryness caused by irregular rains in the autumn which led to delayed plantings in some areas. In the North East, rainfall distribution remained less regular and as of end-April, more rainfall is needed for a normal continuation of the season.

Being largely rainfed, cereal production in Algeria is highly variable. About two‑thirds of the country’s wheat production is “durum” wheat.

Decline in cereal production in 2016

The 2016 cereal harvest was estimated by the Government at about 3.3 million tonnes, 19 percent below the 2015 harvest and 23 percent below the previous five-year average (2011-2015). Parts of northwestern and northcentral Algeria’s wheat‑growing regions were affected by drought, significantly lowering yields. A production recovery is expected in 2017 despite thecurrent pockets of dryness in the North East.

Elsewhere in the sector, in the five‑year plan covering 2015‑2019, the Government plans to double the country’s cereal grain production from 3.4 million tonnes in 2014 to almost 7 million tonnes in 2019. The instruments to be applied are the expansion of the irrigated area by an additional 1 million hectares and the improved distribution of fertilizers and certified seeds.

Wheat imports about same as last year

Even in years of ample domestic production, Algeria relies heavily on cereal grain imports from the international market, with common wheat being the most prominent. In the last five years, the country imported an average of almost 6 million tonnes of wheat per year, representing 70 percent of its domestic utilization.

The wheat import requirement for 2016/17 (July/June) is projected at 8.3 million tonnes, marginally above the imports of last year. Algeria imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico.

Annualized food inflation increasing since December 2016

Food accounts for an average of 43 percent of the total households’ expenditures in Algeria. Accordingly, overall inflation rates are heavily influenced by the food price inflation. The annualized rate of the food price inflation increased from 4.92 percent in December 2016 to 9.1 percent in February 2017, in response to the increase rates of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 2017. VAT rates increased from 7 to 9 percent and the standard rate from 17 to 19 percent. The lower rate applies to many grain and feed products, including pasta and couscous. In addition, bread, dairy, milk, sugar and cooking oils benefit from the ongoing Government subsidies.