The celebration of the 60th anniversary of the national independence is marked by great achievements in agriculture which succeeded in taking up the challenge of food security and sovereignty, thanks to the significant yields in strategic sectors, enabling the country to approach self-sufficiency in this field.
After years of embers, during which the Algerians were subjected to the throes of the French colonialism, and where nearly all of them were unable to meet their basic needs, the independent Algeria now ranks just like the developed countries in terms of food security.
The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, which ranked Algeria as the first African country in terms of food security, confirmed this performance, underlining that the rate of undernourished people was less than 2.5% of the total population from 2018-2020.
As it was the only African country not to exceed this threshold, Algeria was thereby listed in the same category as most of the European countries, the United States of America, Canada, China, Russia , Brazil and Australia.
Because of that, agriculture, which had greatly contributed to the national liberation war and the survival of the rural populations through subsistence farming and local produce, has become now one of the guarantors of country’s food security and socio-economic progress. Agriculture has been at the heart of the national development policies since the independence.
The famous “agricultural revolution” launched by late Houari Boumediene in the 1970s was among the farming plans implemented by the Algerian State. The objective was to achieve self-sufficiency through the creation of modern farms and to reduce unemployment by granting lands mainly to farmers who didn’t possess them.
The agricultural revolution was also marked by the construction of the green dam to combat desertification. The renovation of this agro-ecological tool constitutes today one of the major priorities, as part of the fight against desertification and the effects of climate change.
These efforts made through all these years have been fruitful, by supplying the domestic market and reducing thus the country’s dependence on global markets.
That is how the agricultural sector managed to show strong resilience in 2020 to the economic crisis due to the Coronavirus. With a production of about DZD3500 billion in 2021, i.e. more than 14% of the national GDP, the sector meets today more than 73% of needs of the local market with a surplus for exportation.
It also contributes energetically to the diversification of the country’s exports.
A new agricultural model 2020 steered towards sustainable development
In its roadmap 2020-2024, included in the government action programme, which enshrines the programme of the President of the Republic, the sector added oleaginous plants (cloze and soya) to the list of strategic industries in order to meet 25% of the national needs for colza oil and 33% for maize by 2024.
To achieve this objective, the effort is focused on the development of Saharan agriculture.
The Office for the Development of Industrial Agriculture in the Sahara (ODAS) was created for that purpose, with as a main mission the support of the project-holders in the country’s South.
The new agricultural policy advocates also the promotion of the green economy for the rational management of natural resources. For that purpose, sprinkler and drip irrigation systems were used in about 939,200 hectares, i.e. 64% of the total irrigated area.
The sector has encouraged, as part of sustainable development, the use, notably since 2020, of renewable energy in farms located in the country’s high plateaus, steppe and south.
The sector’s new strategy integrated the forestry industry which contributes greatly to the diversification of the economy and the improvement of the rural population’s revenue by the creation of “green jobs.”
The State also launched a large programme for the development of hardy species.