WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Algeria’s Ministry of Agriculture foresees a slight decline in the market year 2016-17 grain production because of drought conditions and as result of a lack of rain in production areas of Algeria, according to a report released on June 22 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Algeria will most likely import to compensate for the shortfall in domestic production.
 
Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Chelghoum Abdeslam announced at the beginning of the harvest season that agricultural production and especially cereal, was reduced by the lack of rainfall and the resulting drought in some parts of the country, and a slight decline in cereal production is expected. As reported in March, eastern Algeria benefited from widespread precipitation, while large swathes of land normally planted to cereal in western Algeria suffered drought conditions due to a lack of rainfall. No official figures or forecasts have been released yet. Abdeslam also announced that the Algerian government is prepared to import wheat to satisfy domestic demand.
 
Meanwhile, Algeria implemented a five-year program (2015-19) to achieve self-sufficiency in durum wheat with the goal to reduce its imports of cereal by increasing domestic production. The newly appointed minister released figures regarding durum wheat production average during the period 2009-15 estimated at 2.1 million tonnes compared to 1.35 million tonnes in 2000-08, an increase of 61%, due to improved technical and economic conditions as well as favorable weather in the main production areas.
 
To meet the need for wheat estimated at 8 million tonnes per year, Abdeslam stressed the use of irrigation as an option to secure extra production besides the necessary effort to improve technical performances through research and development, recalling that Algerian government grants incentives to grain farmers for the acquisition of irrigation equipment, including funding of 50% for acquisition and facilitation through credits and loans.