Posted by: Reuters

Algeria, one of world’s largest importers of grain, expects a “big” harvest this year after abundant rainfall and plans to reduce drastically its purchases of barley and durum wheat in 2020, state news agency APS said on Saturday.

“Abundant rainfall in the east, west and the centre will allow a big harvest this year,” Noureddine Amrani, an official at the agriculture ministry, told APS.

Algeria’s grain output was 3.5 million tonnes in 2017, up from 3.4 million tonnes in 2016 but down from 4 million tonnes the previous year.

The import bill in 2017 has been estimated at $2.7 billion.

Amrani also said Algeria would become self-sufficient in barley and will produce 90 percent of the durum wheat it needs in 2020.

Algeria’s total land for grain-growing is estimated at 3.5 million hectares, and its average yield is 17 quintals per hectare, according to official figures.

Editing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Catherine Evans