- Title: ALGERIA: Barley exports for the first time in more than four decades
- Date: 7th June 2010
- Summary: BENAISSA CUTTING RIBBON
- Embargoed: 22nd June 2010 13:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVAEH87YH1DFIJYSWTINXOAHWWL0
- Story Text: Algeria plans to become a regular exporter of grain, a senior agriculture official said at a ceremony to mark the first time the North African country had exported barley in 43 years.
After a record harvest last year, Algeria, one of the biggest importers of wheat in the world, scaled back imports and has now sold an 11,000-tonne consignment of surplus barley for export to neighbouring Tunisia.
"It is certainly not the last time this project will take place. We certainly hope and intend to do this again. We will do everything in order to make these exports possible and to structure them, in other words. The improvement recorded during the past few years can be consolidated and the amount each year, which is superfluous to what is needed by the interior market will then be exported as part of the project which took place today,'' Noureddine Kehal, the head of the OAIC state grain agency, told Reuters at a ceremony at Algiers port to see off the ship carrying the cargo.
"The analysis carried out by the laboratories of potential clients, proved that the characteristics of our product proposed for selling are clearly above the international standards accepted in the grain trade,'' he added.
Algeria's grain crop usually depends on favourable rains. The government is using a programme of irrigation, incentives for farmers and looser rules on land use to try to raise the harvest consistently, even in drought years.
The country's Agriculture Minister is positive about the sector's future and believes it will grow.
"It is a historic and symbolic moment because after 43 years the mechanisms are not only to empty but also to fill ships. This moment proves two things. It proves that the agricultural potential in Algeria still has its place and it can seriously improve. If there is self confidence, if the work is done seriously and efficiently, if there is the introduction of technology and young people in agriculture, the sector will be a strong economic sector in our country," said Agriculture Minister Rachid Benaissa.
For the next few years at least, Algeria's grain exports are likely to remain tiny when set against the large quantities of wheat it imports -- most of it from France, Spain and Canada.
Imports in the first four months of 2010 were 1.945 million tonnes, according to customs data.
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