OBG talks to Abdelwahab Nouri, Minister of Agriculture

Abdelwahab Nouri, Minister of Agriculture

Interview: Abdelwahab Nouri

How can the performance of Algeria’s agricultural sector be improved in the coming years?

ABDELWAHAB NOURI: In recent years Algeria has sought to improve its food security by increasing production levels and outputs through the Agricultural and Rural Development Plan. To that end, public powers are in the process of reorganising agricultural activities in order to focus on the operational objectives of each sector. Value chains will be organised according to a sector-based approach and strategic agricultural sectors necessary for food security need to be identified. Steps must be taken to preserve and enhance Algeria’s natural resources while the development of the country’s regional areas must be balanced with improvements in the living conditions and salaries of rural populations.

Agriculture continues to face challenges with respect to the climate and a lack of institutional order. Organisational and technical problems and social and economic issues further inhibit optimal development. To address these issues, the government is allocating additional budgetary funds to improve agriculture and rural development from 2015 to 2019. Efforts will focus on a number of key points, including continuing to reinforce and grow the productive base of Algeria’s food security. The current irrigated area of 1.2m ha will be increased to 2m ha by 2019. Algeria will also pursue efforts to intensify agricultural and food production through modern farming techniques, seeds and plants, as well as an optimised usage of fertilisers. Measures to protect national production will be reinforced and preserving natural resources, especially water, will be key objectives. Public-private partnerships will be strongly encouraged in order to create the necessary synergies to fully harness the nation’s productive potential.

I want to highlight the completion of the land title acquisition process, which is an important advancement of the government’s agriculture and rural development policies. It has already had some positive effects, including putting an end to decades of uncertainty that were detrimental to the growth of the sector as a whole.

What efforts have been undertaken to diversify and modernise national production?

NOURI: Over the last several years Algeria has undertaken a vast development project for the agriculture sector, which has already shown notable results across different segments. The average production growth rate is now 20.50% for grains, 16.50% for potatoes, 16.30% for red meat, 15.80% for fresh vegetables, 12.60% for white meat and 8.80% for raw milk. Furthermore, the annual growth rate averaged 13.79% from 2009 to 2014, well above the initial target of 8.30%. These results have been achieved thanks to increased investment in the modernisation of agricultural and farming operations and improved access to credit. In response to a shrinking agricultural workforce and demands for intensive use of arable land, the country is working towards greater process mechanisation in the agriculture sector.

How can Algeria work to achieve the sustainable regulation of agricultural products?

NOURI: We are striving to put in place a sustainable regulation system. The Regulatory System of Agricultural Products for Widespread Consumption seeks to preserve agricultural investments and revenues as well as to stabilise agricultural prices, thereby protecting consumer purchasing power. Numerous initiatives have been launched to improve collection, storage, handling and transport. Other initiatives will provide further aid to professional organisations and encourage and diversify public-private partnerships. These measures will be put into action over the next five years, with particular emphasis placed on the modernisation and development of the processing industry, the renovation of existing storage infrastructure and the development of new storage units. To accomplish these goals, the government has laid out plans to construct 39 silos and 50 refrigeration centres across the country. In an effort to further boost production, the government also has announced plans to build three new slaughterhouses.

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Abdelwahab Nouri

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The Report: Algeria 2014

Agriculture chapter from The Report: Algeria 2014

Cover of The Report: Algeria 2014

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This article is from the Agriculture chapter of The Report: Algeria 2014. Explore other chapters from this report.