Algeria’s Jan-April wheat imports down
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ALGIERS May 20 (Reuters) – Algeria’s soft and durum wheat imports in the first four months of this year were down 15.6 percent on the same period in 2011, customs data showed, after high purchases last year boosted stocks.
The data, seen by Reuters, showed Algeria imported 2.01 million tonnes of wheat in January-April this year against 2.37 million tonnes in the first four months of 2011.
Soft wheat imports accounted for 1.59 million tonnes in the first four months this year, down from 1.87 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, while durum wheat purchases reached 409,329 tonnes from 622,503 tonnes in January-April 2011.
Algeria’s total wheat imports last year were 7.42 million tonnes, a 41.5 rise from the previous year and the highest level since it became independent from France in 1962.
The increase was driven by last year’s poor harvest, which reached 4.2 million tonnes, and by government efforts to ensure that there were no food shortages that could lead to an “Arab Spring” revolt.
The agriculture ministry last month said it expected this year’s harvest to reach 5.5 million tonnes.
(Reporting By Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)