The Algerian Inter-professional Office of Cereal (OAIC), which is the main importer of wheat, has decided to extend its activities to the development of domestic production of this staple food to improve yields, which remain highly dependent on climatic conditions.
"The Office plans to become a major player in the development of the grain industry by meeting the needs of farmers, more and professional," Director General of OAIC, Mohamed Belabdi told APS.
"We notice that grain farmers are becoming more professional and, therefore, become increasingly demanding. They request varieties of wheat seeds and inputs to ensure good yields," he said.
Generally, the grain farmers comply with the technical route of production and make more use of certified seeds.
"From 2009 to the present, we have multiplied by eight the amount of fertilizers used in each season, while those of seeds grew from 900,000 quintals of certified seeds to 2.2 million quintals," Belabdi explained.
Thus, to meet the demand of producers, the Office intends to introduce in collaboration with the technical institutes, new high yielding varieties notably for soft wheat, and also diversify the range of fertilizers.
The creation of new varieties of wheat is the subject of a French-Algerian partnership signed in 2013 between OAIC and the French agency cereals Axereal.
This partnership will allow the office to access the French genetic material for the production of grain seeds at pilot farms.
Algeria is a producer of durum wheat mainly, which explains its total dependence on imports of soft wheat, while the varieties of the small amount of wheat produced are not bread and therefore not suitable to make bread.
Unlike soft wheat, genetic material possessed by Algeria in durum wheat is able to give yields similar to those in major producing countries, says Belabdi.