Algeria food imports reached $ 4. 31 billion during the first half of 2012, against $4.90 bn in the same period of reference of 2011, declining by 11.91%, Algerian Customs said Monday.
The decrease of $ 584 million of the food bill of Algeria is mainly due to lower imports of cereals, milk and sugar, according to figures from the National Center of Customs Informatics and Statistics (CNIS). The group of cereal products, meal and flour fell 23.10% from 2.07 billion dollars in the first half of 2011 to $1.59bn.
This group represents a share of 36.94% of the structure of food products which account for a proportion of 18.75% of the total volume of imports from Algeria.
Wheat imports, which represent a "significant" part in this group, recorded a fall of over 33%, from $1.51 m to 1.01m during the same period already mentioned. Algeria does not import durum wheat and barley in 2012 due to good harvest forecast for the 2011-2012 campaign, according to Algerian Interprofessional Cereals Office (CATO)
"We have a production that will cover our needs until after 2012. So we will not be present on the international market for durum wheat and barley until the end of 2012. However, we will continue to import wheat," said the director of CATO, Noureddine Kehal.
Sector forecasters expect a production of 56 to 58 million quintals of grain during the campaign against 45 million quintals last season, an increase of nearly 33%.