ALGERIA- Mohamed Abdelhafidh Henni, Algeria’s Minister of Agriculture, has kicked off construction work on a cereal storage complex with an estimated capacity of 20,000 tonnes, according to a statement recently posted on the Ministry’s Facebook page.
Algeria is the second largest importer of cereals in Africa after Egypt. Local production of about around 4 million tonnes per year barely meets the demands of its citizens, necessitating imports to fill the demand gap.
As is the case in many North African states, demand for cereals mainly comprises wheat and barley as Algeria is one of the largest consumers of wheat in the continent.
According to the latest FAO estimates, cereal imports in Algeria could increase by 5.4% to 13.5 million tonnes in 2023/2024, with wheat accounting for more than 66% of this stock.
Therefore, the country has to invest sufficiently in grain storage facilities to bolster its food security efforts.
This recently launched construction is based in El Attaf in Algeria in the wilaya of Ain Defla and will facilitate grain preservation in the area.
Its construction marks the relaunch of the national program to strengthen grain storage capacity, the implementation of which had been on hold since 2015.
According to details in the press release, this program aims to increase the country’s grain storage capacity to 9 million tons by the end of 2025.
As part of this ambition, the construction of 350 new local storage centers has also been launched in 44 wilayas, each with a capacity of between 5,000 and 7,000 tonnes, as well as the construction of 36 storage silos of cereals with a total capacity of 25,000 tons.
Government seeks to boost local wheat production
While Algeria relies heavily on imports to meet its people’s demand for cereals, the government has been freeing up state land to enhance local wheat production.
In April this year, the Algerian National Agricultural Land Office (ONTA)announced plans to distribute more than 200,000 hectares of agricultural land to private investors in a bid to boost wheat production.
According to Minister Henni, the objective of this operation is to reach one (1) million hectares of cereal-growing land in the south of the country by the end of next year, with an expected yield of 70-80 quintals per hectare.