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  Algeria

Reference Date: 02-August-2021

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Below‑average cereal production harvested in 2021

  2. Wheat imports requirements forecast to increase

  3. Slow economic recovery, increasing price inflation

Below‑average cereal harvest gathered in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 winter grains is expected to be completed by mid‑August. Being largely rainfed, cereal yields are highly variable and depend on rainfall amounts and distribution. Sowing of cereals took place under favourable weather conditions. However, by mid‑February 2021, dryness prevailed in most cropping areas following below‑average precipitation amounts since mid‑January. Although subsequent adequate rainfall contributed to a partial recovery in crop conditions in northeastern parts of the country, drought conditions prevailed elsewhere. Combined with the impact on yields of unseasonable high temperatures, a slightly below‑average wheat output of 2.5 million tonnes is expected. Total cereal production in 2021 is estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, below the five‑year average and about 38 percent less than the previous year.

In late 2020, the government introduced a 2020‑2024 roadmap strategy to develop the soft wheat, maize, sugar and oilseeds sectors with the aim to reduce the annual food import bill. In the wheat sector, for example, broad modernization of irrigation is expected to increase yields from current 2 tonnes/hectare to up 5‑6 tonnes/hectare, eventually producing about 7 million tonnes of wheat per year by 2024 (depending whether irrigation is supplementary or full).

In March 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture launched a Global Agricultural Census of farms and livestock. The last census was carried out in 2001. The evaluation of livestock will be supported by the use of drones.

Wheat imports in 2021/22 to increase

Even in years with ample domestic production, the country relies heavily on imports of cereal grains, with common wheat being the most prominent. In the last five years, the country’s import requirements were on average about 7.6 million tonnes per year, mostly common wheat that represents about 70 percent of domestic utilization.

Owing to the decreased domestic harvest in 2021, wheat import requirements for the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June) are projected at 8.1 million tonnes, about 25 percent above the imports of the previous year and 7 percent above average. The country imports wheat from France, Canada, Germany, the United States of America, Spain and Mexico. For the first time since 2016, the Russian Federation shipped wheat to Algeria in June 2021. About 5 million tonnes of maize, for use as feed, are also expected to be imported.

Slow economic recovery, increasing price inflation

The country is dependent on petroleum and natural gas exports for export earnings. A sharp decline in global oil prices in 2020 slashed export revenues. Mostly due to a decline of the oil sector and the effects of the measures to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the economy contracted by 5.5 percent year on year in 2020, compared to a 0.8 percent growth in 2019. High unemployment levels prevail, affecting the purchasing power of the population. Despite the government’s plans to diversify the economy and to resume exports of hydrocarbons, the economic recovery in 2021 is likely to be sluggish, constrained by the slow progress of the vaccination campaign.

In April 2021 (latest data available), the annual rate of the general price inflation was recorded at 5.7 percent, the highest level since 2018. In the same month, food prices increased by 7.4 percent year on year, up from the levels close to 0 percent in the second half of 2020. Part of the inflation increase is attributed to the depreciation of the national currency: USD 1 in July 2021 was equivalent to about DZD 135, compared to DZD 128 in July 2020.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.