Algeria has forecasted a 31% rise in its cereal production in 2012 indicating an output of 5.5 million tons in comparison with 4.2 million tons for the previous year. "If all the technical actions and phytosanitary treatment are done correctly, there could be an excellent production this year," Algerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Rachid Benaissa minister told a conference on the sidelines of a meeting on performance contracts assessment for the first quarter of 2012. "The campaign will be very good for durum wheat, good for common wheat, and average in barley," the Minister added pointing out that some barley production areas did not receive significant rainfall amounts, which could affect the production of this crop this year. Production levels reached more than 4.5 tons in 2009/2010 in comparison with 6.1 tons in 2008/2009. Algeria achieved self-sufficiency of durum wheat produce in 2008-2010. The number of farmers specializing in grain cultivation has reached 600,000. The Algerian government raises wheat prices to encourage farmers, in addition to presenting other benefits including the comrade loan where the government carries the interest burdens in addition to decreasing fertilizer prices by 20%. Algeria is one of the world's seven largest wheat exporters.