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Natural and Regulatory Underlying Factors of Food Dependency in Algeria

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Abstract

Since its independence in 1962, Algeria adopted several public food policies with the objective to nourish its population. To do so, two options were proposed: either raise the local production or import from international markets. Nowadays, the country adopts a combination of these two options by supporting local producers while seeking new foreign suppliers. The main objective of such policies was to meet a growing food demand generated by a rising population, improved incomes, and changing food consumption patterns. This chapter aims to analyse the impact of those policies—mainly subsidies—on local market supply. The results show that Algeria’s food consumption has increased significantly in the last half-century both quantitatively and qualitatively, resulting in an increased dependency on foreign suppliers. This dependency can be explained not only by population growth and rising households’ incomes, but also by the agricultural policies in place and inefficient economic governance. Yields are low compared to what could technically be achieved because they are constrained by insufficient use of productive inputs, lack of (or outdated) equipment, irrational use of irrigation water, poor access to loans, land fragmentation, and the decrease in rainfall.

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