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Reference Date: 16-June-2016


  1. Mixed outlook for winter cereals across the country: drought in west, favourable conditions in east

  2. Wheat imports slightly lower than last year

  3. Annualized food inflation increased in April 2016

  4. Humanitarian assistance continued under Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation to refugees

Mixed outlook for winter cereals across the country

Harvesting of winter grains normally starts in early June and continues until mid‑August. In 2016, above average temperatures accelerated winter grain maturation and dry‑down, prompting an early start of the harvest in mid‑May.

The sowing season also 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 yield prospects. Production prospects in the northeastern part of the main cereal production zone remained favourable, sustained by widespread showers in April followed by above‑average temperatures which accelerated winter grain maturation and dry‑down.

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

Recovery in cereal production

The 2015 cereal harvest was estimated by the Government at about 4.1 million tonnes, 27 percent above the 2014 dry weather‑stricken harvest but 7 percent below the previous five-year average (2010-2014). Although favourable weather conditions with timely rains prevailed earlier in the season, excessively hot weather (up to 45 degrees Celsius) in early May 2015 limited production gains, mainly in northern and northeastern Algeria.

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 2015/16 (July/June) is projected at 7.5 million tonnes, 7 percent down from 2014/15 owing to a partial recovery in production. The 2015/16 wheat import requirement is 10 percent above the last five‑year average, which includes two consecutive years of exceptional harvests in 2012 and 2013. Algeria imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico.

Annualized food inflation increased in April 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 in April 2016 was estimated at 4 percent. Bread, dairy, milk, sugar and cooking oils benefit from ongoing Government subsidies.

Continued humanitarian assistance under Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation

The WFP is carrying out three activities in the country under the ongoing Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation running from January 2013 until December 2016 with a total budget of USD 66 million. The three activities include general food distribution, nutrition activities targeting mother and child health and a school feeding programme by providing 90 000 general food rations plus 35 000 supplementary general food rations to the most vulnerable refugees from Western Sahara.

Algeria has been hosting Western Saharan refugees since 1975. The five 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 southwestern 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.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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