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Country Briefs

  Algeria

Reference Date: 24-September-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Record cereal production gathered in 2018

  2. Wheat import requirement forecast to decrease

  3. Annualized food inflation eased in July 2018 but remained higher than in spring 2018

Record cereal production gathered in 2018

Harvesting of the 2018 winter grains was completed in mid‑August. Parts of the country experienced dry weather conditions in autumn 2017, but abundant precipitation in spring 2018 eliminated pockets of drought and improved yield prospects across most of the cropping areas. Irregular precipitation prevailed in localized areas in the south of the country.

Being largely rainfed, cereal yields are highly variable depending on the rainfall amounts and distribution, both of which were deemed favourable in spring 2018. The 2018 cereal production is estimated by the Government at about 6 million tonnes, over three-quarters more than the 2017 weather-stricken harvest and 60 percent above the previous five-year average (2013‑2017), which included three years of weather-constrained outputs. Previous production records were set in 2009 (5.3 million tonnes of cereals) and 2012 (5.1 million tonnes).

Some 3.15 million tonnes of durum wheat and 0.79 million tonnes of soft (common) wheat were harvested in 2018. About 3.4 million hectares were planted with 2018 winter cereals, compared to the 3.5 million hectares planted in the previous season.

Wheat imports in 2018/19 forecast to decrease

Even in years of ample domestic production, the country 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 about 8 million tonnes of mostly common wheat per year, representing 70 percent of its domestic utilization.

Owing to the improved domestic supplies, the wheat import requirements for 2018/19 (July/June) are projected at 7.7 million tonnes, some 200 000 tonnes below the imports of last year. The country imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico.

Annualized food inflation decreased in July 2018

The annualized rate of the general price inflation increased from about 2 percent between February and April 2018 to 6 percent in June 2018, reflecting new taxes on selected imports to compensate the impact of lower oil and gas prices resulting in lower Government revenues. It then eased slightly to 4.7 percent in July 2018.

On average, food accounts for about 43 percent of the total households’ expenditures. Accordingly, overall inflation rates are heavily influenced by changes in food prices. Food price inflation, which recorded an increase of 7 percent on a year-on-year basis in June 2018, decreased to 4 percent in July 2018 as food prices seasonally declined at the end of Ramadan. Nevertheless, the current levels of food price inflation remain above the food price deflation recorded in February and March 2018.

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