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Reference Date: 16-March-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

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

  2. Recovery in cereal production in 2015 compared to previous year’s weather‑stricken harvest

  3. Wheat imports slightly lower than last year

  4. Annualized food inflation eased in January 2016

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

Mixed outlook for winter cereals across the country

Planting of the 2016 winter grains started in mid‑October and concluded in mid‑January. Early rains in September and October 2015 prompted an early start of the sowing season. 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 are affected by drought, significantly lowering yield prospects.

Widespread rains in the last decade of February 2016 improved soil moisture conditions, and could still mitigate the outcome. Production prospects in the northeastern part of the main cereal production zone remain favourable, assuming normal weather conditions prevail for the rest of the season.

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

Recovery in cereal production

The Government puts the 2015 cereal harvest at about 4 million tonnes, 18 percent above the previous year’s dry weather‑stricken harvest but 12 percent below average. 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 to 2019, the Government plans to achieve 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, 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 eased in January 2016

Food accounts for 43 percent of the total households’ expenditures in Algeria. Accordingly, overall inflation rates are heavily influenced by food price inflation. The annualized rate of food price inflation in January 2016 was estimated at 2 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:
From GIEWS:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Maps
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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