ALGIERS – The quantities of cereals collected at the Algerian Interprofessional Cereals Office (OAIC) reached 13 million quintals of soft and hard wheat, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Abdelhafid Henni said on Thursday.
Speaking at a plenary session of the People’s National Assembly (APN) devoted to oral questions, the minister said that statistics for the 2020-2021 season reveal “a deficit in terms of quantities collected”, reporting a quantity of 135,000 qx of barley collected for needs exceeding 8 million qx.
This situation has resulted in the emergence of speculation in the production of bran and its availability to breeders, especially as only 40% are intended directly for breeders, while 60% are intended for free sale, added the minister.
The minister who condemned these practices, affirming that his ministerial department was working in coordination with that of the Industry to move definitively towards the sale directly to the breeder or to the factories producing fodder for animals and the ban of their free sale outside the flour mills.
Regarding storage capacities, Mr. Henni highlighted that the sector was working to increase the storage capacities of the OAIC, (28 million qx currently), through the project to build 30 storage silos, of which 16 have been achieved, while 14 are experiencing a delay in completion.
Regarding the delay in the realization of the storage silo of Aflou (Laghouat), the minister indicated that the suspension of the project was due to the non-respect by the contracting company of the contractual commitments, in addition to the problem of the rise waters.
For the construction of stocks, the minister affirmed that all the means are available for their realization with national capacities, without resorting to the foreign expertise and funds.
Regarding the availability of fodder, the minister indicated that he had received the approval of the Prime Minister for the preparation of the report for the month of February, with a view to increasing the quantity of fodder intended for camels and horses, reaching one kilo to 4 per day.
The minister said that the quantity currently granted to camels and horses is insufficient, forcing the sector to opt for importing barley.
Regarding the classification of camels as national wealth so that they can benefit from the subsidy, the minister addressed the program drawn up by the ministry to develop livestock breeding, including those in the Saharan regions.
As part of this program, herds and equipment will be acquired, with the development of genes, the preservation of national breeds, the supply of fodder, the creation of watering points, the opening of Saharan paths, in addition to protection against diseases by vaccination, and these operations are carried out by agricultural institutes.
Concerning the wilaya of Bordj Badji Mokhtar, the minister mentioned the existence of 41,000 camels, 107,000 sheep, 62,000 goats and 39,000 cows, a herd which has enabled this wilaya to produce 9,000 quintals of red meat in 2021.
The sector has devoted the amount of 500,000 DA for the creation of small milk production units, and 1 million DA for the creation of small units for the production of processed foods in the wilaya, continues Mr. Henni.
The sector is also seeking to invest in the production of red and animal meat in general in the region, with the opening of mobile veterinary clinics and laboratories.
In response to a question concerning the spread of the pest mite “Boufaroua”, which caused a loss of 60% of date production in the wilaya of El Meghaïer, the minister indicated that the sector was able to treat 2 million and a half of palm trees in the 18 wilayas producing dates, which represents 99% of the set target.
This mite is combated by decision of the wilaya and by relying on the services of the National Institute for the Protection of Plants, the departments concerned, the chambers of agriculture, the Union of Peasants and professional councils of dates and producers, while making the pesticides provided by agricultural services available to them.
The costs of the control campaigns are borne by the State, resprting to funding from the National Fund for the Development of Agricultural Investment.
In El Meghaïer, 360,100 palm trees were treated, with a rate exceeding 100% of the target set. Despite this, losses of more than 60% of production in 2021 have been recorded, according to statistics from the wilaya.
Finally, the Minister affirmed that the concerns raised by MPs are “real and will be taken into consideration”.