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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 24-November-2016


  1. Short-term drought impacting planting

  2. Wheat imports slightly lower than last year

  3. Annualized food inflation decreased in September 2016

Short-term drought impacting planting

Planting of winter grains normally starts in mid-October and continues until mid-January. Only about 20 percent of the normal rainfall fell in September and October 2016. Lack of precipitation, coupled with above-average temperatures, depleted the soil moisture necessary for winter crop planting and establishment. Some areas in western and central Algeria suffer from short-term drought.

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

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). The sowing season started earlier than usual following early rains in September and October 2015. However, from November to early February, precipitation deficits in parts of northwestern Algeria reached 70 percent of the long‑term average and in northcentral parts of the country about 60 percent. By contrast, northeastern Algeria received normal levels of precipitation. Like Morocco, parts of northwestern and northcentral Algeria’s wheat‑growing regions were affected by drought, significantly lowering yields.

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 improved distribution of fertilizers and certified seeds.

Wheat imports slightly lower than 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 million tonnes, slightly below the 2015/16 imports. Algeria imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico.

Annualized food inflation decreased in September 2016

Food accounts for an average of 43 percent of the total households’ expenditures in Algeria. Accordingly, overall inflation rates are heavily influenced by food price inflation. The annualized rate of the food price inflation decreased from 3.7 percent in August 2016 to 1 percent in September 2016, compared to 1.4 percent in September 2015. Bread, dairy, milk, sugar and cooking oils benefit from ongoing Government subsidies.