ALGIERS – Minister of Agriculture, Local Development and Fisheries Abdelkader Bouazghi insisted Sunday in Algiers on the imperative to solve the problem of agricultural land to promote and modernize the sector, exploiting all arable land .
Speaking to industries executives and key stakeholders in the field at the closing session of the National Agriculture Foundation workshops, the Minister emphasized “the need to find a solution to arable land unexploited, including privately owned land, to promote and modernize the sector and increase national agricultural production”.
In Algeria, the total exploitable area is 8.5 million ha, of which 5.7 million ha belong to the private domain and 2.8 million ha belong to the domain of the State, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture which make show that 3.1 million ha, or 36% are currently untapped.
Regarding agricultural production, Mr. Bouazghi said that national production was close to 3,000 billion da (nearly 30 billion dollars), while it did not exceed 350 million DZD in 2000.
This production, adds the minister, also makes it possible to meet 70% of the national needs and to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to 12%, which, according to him, represents “a significant advance in favor of the public support and encouragement of the agricultural sector” .
Modern agriculture must be based on irrigation
Mr. Bouazghi emphasized the need to reach the target of 2 million ha of irrigated land, indicating that Algeria has reached a national agricultural production nearly 3,000 billion da with 1.3 million ha of irrigated land. Achieving the target of 2 million ha of irrigated land will support 100% national needs and direct the surplus towards export.
The minister, who called on economic operators to invest more in manufacturing industries to increase the export volume, said that Algeria has achieved self-sufficiency in several agricultural products and that the absence of manufacturing industries has prevented exploitation of the surplus in the export.
With regard to the development of fishing and aquaculture activities, the Minister called on industry stakeholders to make greater efforts to develop this sector and increase its performance in order to meet national needs in this area, with a focus on in this connection, the need to develop the manufacturing industry in this field with the aim of developing exports.
Responding to a question from a journalist on the importation of French red meats, Bouazghi said that “the majority of the meat consumed in Algeria is produced locally, the surplus being imported from several countries and not only from France”.
“Agriculture at the service of national sovereignty”.
As a reminder, the closing session of the 9 preparatory workshops was devoted to the review and validation of the recommendations of the workshops opened on March 11, 2018 in anticipation of the National Conference on Agriculture to be held Monday under the patronage of the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika at the International Conference Center (CIC) -Club des Pins, under the slogan “Agriculture at the service of national sovereignty”.
The closing session saw the participation of investors, farmers, breeders, processors, exporters, researchers, financial institutions, experts, representatives of central and local management, farmers’ chambers, professional associations and representatives of the ministries concerned.
The session was crowned with recommendations that will be submitted Monday during the National Conference of Agriculture and to allow to better target the strategies to be put in place, for a sustainable agricultural development with a contribution in the diversification of the national economy, strengthening of rural development and the forestry economy and sustainable growth of fisheries and aquaculture activities.
The nine (09) preparatory workshops focused on several themes, including agricultural land, water resources, agricultural products and agri-food processing, agricultural exports, agricultural financing and investment, rural development and forest economics, as well as the development of fisheries and aquaculture, training and innovation, and professional and interprofessional organization.