Algeria cuts grain harvest forecast: Minister

Reuters, Monday 10 Sep 2012

Summer heatwave and fires will mean a diminished 5.2 million tonnes in 2012 grain production, says agriculture minister

Algeria expects its grain harvest for this year to be between 5.2 and 5.4 million tonnes, Agriculture Minister Rachid Benaissa said on Sunday, cutting a previous forecast of 5.8 million tonnes.

"In early June, we announced that we would be between 56 and 58 million quintals. Now we're talking about 52 million quintals because of the heatwave and fires which affected some areas," Benaissa told state radio.
"The latest figures show that output is between 52 and 54 million quintals. Confirmation is underway."
The North African country's domestic grain harvest last year reached 4.2 million tonnes, pushing imports up to 7.42 million tonnnes, the largest amount since Algeria became independent from France in 1962.
It bought a large volume of durum wheat last month, missing a previous goal of not importing durum or barley in the second half of 2012.
Asked on Sunday to give reasons behind the string of purchases, Benaissa said: "It's about structured strategic actions." 
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