Algeria: Great strides towards food self-sufficiency


Somalilandsun-Algeria now provides more than 70% of its food through domestic production, and the challenge is to target strategic sectors to meet the basic food needs of the population, reduce imports and boost exports, said Tuesday. Algiers a senior official of Ministry of Agriculture.
“Today, Algeria provides over 70% of its food through domestic production. It also releases surpluses for certain products that allow it to be present on the international market including dates, olive oil, vegetables, potatoes and fruits, “said the Secretary General at the Ministry of Agriculture, rural development and fisheries, Belkacem Chadi, during a panel on agriculture and agribusiness organized on the sidelines of the 26th Algerian Production Fair.
According to him, the reforms undertaken by his ministry during the last two decades, as part of the five-year programs to revive economic growth, have enabled the sector to achieve “very encouraging” results.
In his presentation of the sector achievement report from 2000 to 2016, he noted that cereal production increased from 9.3 million quintals (Mq) in 2000 to 34.3 Mq in 2016, an increase of 268 %.
Domestic durum wheat production increased from 4.86 Mq to 19.3 Mq (+ 298%), while that of common wheat increased 83% from 2.7 Mq to 5.02 Mq.
As regards tomato destined for industrial processing, its production went from 4.7 Mq to 12.3 Mq (+ 160%), while for market gardening, its production went from 33.08 Mq to 131, 03 Mq.
As for the potato, its production went from 12.07 Mq to 47.8 Mq between the two periods of comparison, while dates recorded an increase of 182% passing from 3.6 Mq to 10.2 Sm.
Meats also recorded an increase in production from 2.5 Mq to 5.3 Mq (+ 114%), while white meats reached 5.1 Mq in 2016 against 1.9 Mq in 2000.
For milk, 3.5 million liters were produced in 2016 compared with 1.5 million liters in 2000 (+ 127%).
Other products also recorded increases in production: eggs (+ 231%), oats (+ 783%), fodder (+ 987%), pulses (+ 241%), tobacco (+ 38%), onions (+ 383%) and viticulture (+ 180%).
Nevertheless, he argued, this production dynamic must be consolidated by strengthening the processing, storage and cold storage capacities of agricultural products, particularly for fruits and vegetables.
Also, the improvement of the functioning of the distribution circuits of the agricultural and food products, he insisted, must be framed by an efficient inter-professional organization of the sectors and by the advent of the large modern distribution which should induce a positive transformation. of all value chains of agricultural and agro-industrial sectors.
In addition, he said that the value of agricultural production reached more than 3,000 billion DA in 2016, the equivalent of nearly 30 billion dollars, against 359 billion DA (5 billion dollars) in 2000, a substantial contribution of the agriculture sector to GDP of around 12% compared to 8% in 2000.
According to him, the sector employs 1.24 million permanent workers to which is added the insertion of the young graduates of the sector with the creation of 22,253 micro-enterprises in the segment of the support to the agricultural exploitations.
Several challenges remain
He also stated that one of the challenges facing the agricultural sector is to ensure a significant increase in national production and its optimal exploitation by rational mobilization of available resources “by targeting strategic sectors to cope with basic food needs of the population, gradually reduce imports and boost exports.
Referring to the strategic axes of agricultural policy, he cited the consolidation of a sustainable agricultural policy, the reduction of the imbalance of the balance of trade in agricultural commodities and the contribution to economic diversification.
It also involves promoting actions aimed at rural populations, the conservation and development of natural resources, the development and sustainable growth of fishing and aquaculture activities.
In this context, Mr. Chadi said that the strategy of his ministry aims to respond to the challenge of food security with a “new agricultural model structured mainly around private investment as a new engine of agricultural growth especially in the context of Public-private and private-private partnership “.
This model is also based on the continued development of strategic sectors including cereals, milk, fodder and meat.
It also relies on water-saving irrigation, agro-industrial integration, the strengthening of regulatory systems, the substitution of massive imports of certain products and the revival of exports of agricultural and agro-food products, allowing to diversify external financial resources.
In this regard, he called on economic operators to seize the opportunity offered by the recent government decision to ban the import of 851 products of which 400 are agricultural products.
In addition, Mr. Chadi stressed that the implementation of another program related to the creation of new farms aims to increase the productive land potential that will increase in the medium term from 8.5 million ha to 9 million ha.
He indicated, in this wake, that 853,300 ha were awarded to the benefit of 19,875 concessionaires, of which 520,000 ha (61% of the total area) are oriented to the benefit of 1,532 investors with structuring projects and integrity in the strategic sectors with a investment value estimated at 700 billion DA.
With regard to medium-term sector prospects, he said that the development plan adopted was based on various aspects such as the extension of irrigated areas, the development of mechanization and the resorption of fallow land.
In this context, he indicated that production volumes in the main sectors will continue to increase by 2022: 53 million quintals of cereals, 69.5 million quintals of potatoes, 11 million quintals of dates, 6.3 million quintals of red meat, 6.7 million quintals of white meat and 4.8 billion lire of fresh milk.
During the debates, operators called for state support to help them export especially for what is called “terroir products”, and the establishment of a national laboratory to ensure the conformity of products to export.