RUSSIA- In 2022, Russia exported around 1.3 million tonnes of wheat to Algeria which is four times what Algeria imported from Russia in 2021- the Russian news agency Interfax reported. 

Citing data from the export center of the Ministry of Agriculture, Interfax provided that the North African country imported 330,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia in 2021. 

According to Eduard Zernin, head of the Russian Association of Wheat Exporters, the dynamism of shipments is notably linked to the good quality-price ratio of the Russian cereal which allows it to be competitive compared to European competitors, including France. 

Algeria is the second largest African importer behind Egypt, purchasing 7 and 8 million tonnes of wheat per year, a considerable tonnage coming from Russia.

Algeria, the largest country in Africa with more than 43 million people, consumes a lot of wheat. The USDA predicts that the country’s wheat consumption will be 11.15 MMT for the 2022/23 season, and most of which comes from imports.

Although domestic production has improved over the years, it remains weather-driven, and does not meet domestic demand. 

The Algerian government encourages modern industrial agriculture using digitization, and other innovative tools, especially regarding renewable energies. 

Additionally, the government plans to intensify agricultural production, revitalize natural resources, and improve water resources use. 

The government also divested itself from agricultural production and processing allowing the private sector to take the lead, and millers form a significant part of this private sector.

According to the USDA estimates, Algeria’s wheat production could reach 3.3 million metric tons (MMT),  and the imports could reach at 8.3 MMT for the 2022/23 season.

Approximately 4% of these imports come from Russia and Ukraine, according to Miller Magazine. 

Jeorpadizing grain deal could slightly offset Russian exports

Russia exports wheat all over the world, and despite the war with Ukraine, Russia managed to double its wheat exports in 2022. However, this figure could be in jeopardy as Ukraine seeks an extension of the black sea grain deal. 

Russia has confirmed claims that it would not renew its support for the pact if it did not obtain a lifting of the blockages on its agricultural exports.

While it is true that Western sanctions have not explicitly targeted the Russian agricultural sector, the authorities point out that restrictions on logistics, the payment system, and insurance represent major obstacles to shipments of fertilizers and cereals. 

Such restrictions could reduce the country’s wheat exports in 2023 and consecutively affect the supply of wheat to leading importers such as Algeria and Egypt. 

According to Serguei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, this question was discussed with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit being held in New Delhi, India on 2nd March. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday that Turkey is working hard to extend a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia following its invasion.

“ We stressed that the extension of the grain agreement is possible if the interests of Russian agricultural producers and fertilizer manufacturers whose access to markets are disrupted are taken into account,” the Russian  official said.

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