algerian agriculture blooming in the south

the desert is the perfect place to grow crops. With a lot of sunshine all that is needed is water. 

Farms extending over hundreds of hectares, an extreme mechanization, operators that resemble investors or financial speculators: agricultural change in Algeria.And its epicenter moves. The northern plains face stiff competition from large areas of the south, where there is sun, water, and land similar to the Negev desert of California.


The epicenter of Algerian agriculture is currently moving. Northern Plains for citrus and Highlands for cereals, it glides slowly to the south, south-east in particular, where surprising results are obtained by new generations of farmers. This mutation has announced a new Algerian agriculture, everything is new: the extent of plantations, the profile of farmers, working methods, the relationship to the land and, of course, yields.”These are not the fellahs, but businessmen,” says one of them, puzzled, a farmer north who worked alongside. These farmers a new type of thinking big. Farms covering tens to thousands of hectares. They invest a lot, but not their money because they have the system put in place to encourage agriculture aid multiform particularly advantageous, benefiting largely those who know the workings of government. In the Highlands and the south the land is transferred to the dinar symbolic form of concession. The rental is free for the first twenty years, and enhanced for the future. The operator also receives assistance amounting to one million dinars per hectare, as well as various forms of credit if necessary. For larger farms, a study is funded by the government, said Ahmed Abdelmalek Ali, Director of Heritage at the Ministry of Agriculture. This device has caused a real rush to the virgin lands of the Highlands and southern where vast areas are available, unlike the north, where the land, fragmented, do not constitute farms large enough to be used in a modern way. This rush was encouraged by the initial results the first experiments conducted by pioneers. Menea A, in the wilaya of Ghardaia, farms corn gave yields of 80 quintals per hectare. For cereals, many fellahs have reached the same performance, which is unheard of in Algeria, where the average yield is around twenty quintals per hectare. In the provinces of El-Oued Biskra and the potato was introduced a decade, has produced outstanding results. Goldrush Green According to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Rachid Benaissa, the provinces of south already provide 18% of the country’s agricultural production. Eventually, their share is expected to rise to 30%. Biskra, which was already known as the main production region dates, now provides much of the garden produce of Algeria, with thousands of greenhouses that have grown on the land formerly arid Sahara. As for El-Oued, it provides 36% of the production of potato in Algeria, according to the Minister of Agriculture, which allows him to supplant the wilaya of Ain ​​Defla region as the first production of apple land. This gold rush caused exceptionally popular, but many distortions. Ahmed Ali said that new procedures with call for expressions of interest will be implemented to introduce greater transparency in the allocation of land. Which is an implicit recognition of the opacity of rules so far. A huge scandal has also rocked the sector involving the former president of the National Assembly, Mr Mohamed Saïdani, according to news reports. Mr. Abdelmalek Ahmed Ali also admitted that 26,000 beneficiaries of this device were excluded because they did not use the land they had been granted. , but the operation continues. In Biskra wilaya alone, 130,000 hectares were delineated to be distributed. In addition, the formula affects all regions. Thus, at the edge of the desert, the steppe, the traveler discovers suddenly planting thousands of trees, which offer a spectacular landscape, which contrast with the ocher color of these regions. A total of 990 schemes, with an area of 350,000 hectares, were delineated to be distributed. these lands at the entrance of the Sahara are very popular for three reasons, says an agronomist. The soil enables operation throughout the year. In addition, the sun gives them an advantage over other regions. All you need water to make the desert bloom, as in California, he said. And contrary to popular belief, water is available, although its use is unregulated. “It would be absurd to grow watermelons in Tamanrasset, where drinking water is reduced to 1,000 kilometers,” he said. “By cons, available water resources can meet a lot of fresh vegetables essential needs,” he adds.Wastes The change is being made ​​possible through a very extensive mechanization, new agricultural entrepreneurs, and also with huge investments, which have also attracted some criticism. Economist Abdelhak Lamiri has questioned the viability of these massive injections of money, wondering if the results were worth it. For him, the state aid is necessary, but it may turn into a waste of resources. The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Rachid Benaissa, noted for his part the difficulty of giving coherence to all initiatives. He has criticized a “mentality of welfare” remains very present. He cited the fellahs who planted corn, but did not come to pass. They have a production of 70 million dinars to 10 million dinars for investment. They can make the effort to transport their produce to the processing plant, he said. Benaissa appeared to refer to the fellahs who had complained during the evening news, that their product is not supported. Benaissa called operators to “transform these tests.” “It is not necessary that the success of one becomes the problem,” he said, referring to the lack of liquidity of commercial networks and difficulties encountered in collecting production. “The government is willing to support these fellahs, but they are private,” he said, somewhat exasperated. He also cited the Adrar tomato produced in abundance, but farmers complain of not being able to flow north, partly because the cost of transport. “We found ourselves in a situation where different actors have become the obstacle for each other instead of being partners,” he said.

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