Reference Date: 30-May-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable prospects for the 2012/13 winter crops
Cereal imports expected to decrease
Domestic food price inflation has slowed down in 2013
Favourable weather boosts prospects for 2012/13 winter crops
Weather conditions remain favourable for the wheat and barley crops that are being harvested. Some eastern regions experienced periods of drought but good rains in May offset the rainfall deficit.
Preliminary forecasts indicate levels of planting similar to last year with similar levels of the good production. Final estimates will only be known once the harvest is completed.
In 2012, the second largest cereal harvest was gathered
At 5 million tonnes, the 2012 cereal harvest was the second highest on record, following that of 2009. Both wheat and barley production exceeded the previous year’s crop by about 25 percent, following adequate rainfall, 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 aiming at revitalising the country’s rural regions.
The bumper harvest led to increased concerns about the country’s ability to store big volumes. The irrigation incentives given to farmers are also expected to contribute to larger crops. Consequently, 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.
Agricultural Census to be carried out in 2013
Preparations for the General Census of Agriculture (Le recensement général de l'Agriculture) are currently under way covering not only farm operations but also input suppliers and processing. Previous censuses took place in 1973 and 2001. Data are expected in 2014.
Wheat imports expected to decrease
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, nearly 70 percent of its domestic utilization. Following the increased 2012 harvest, the total cereal import requirement in 2012/13 (July/June), mainly wheat and maize, is projected to decrease by about 10 percent compared to 2011/12. Wheat imports are also projected to decrease by some 10 percent compared to 2011/12, to about 5.8 million tonnes. The countries exporting wheat to Algeria include France, Canada, Germany, the United States, Spain and Mexico.
Food inflation slowing down
In April 2013, food prices (CPI) increased by 0.97 percent and 2.02 percent compared to the previous month and previous year respectively. The year on year price increase, for bread and cereals, was 3.57 percent in April 2013 while red meat prices recorded increases of over 17 percent.
The relatively low rate of bread and dairy inflation are in part due to the generous food subsidies system. While subsidies are likely to remain, there is an ongoing discussion about their cost (including the large import bill and administrative costs) and the related food waste.