Algeria is the only self-sufficient Maghreb country in sheepmeat, which prevents it from resorting to sheep imports even during the festivities of Eid El Adha, said Saturday in Algiers the President of the National Union of Algerian Peasants (UNPA), Mohamed Alioui
With a herd of over 28 million sheep, each Algerian family can afford a sheep at a reasonable price, he said at a press conference he hosted at the forum of the daily El Chaab
To combat speculation, Mr. Alioui advised citizens not to rush into livestock markets and delay that sheep prices fall before buying. "Especially since the farmer has an interest in selling all of his livestock before the end of the Aid", he added.
On the other hand, the president of UNPA has appealed to breeders to make sheep prices "more accessible" on this religious holiday.
On the high cost of red meats on the market, he continued, this abundance of sheep does not explain, according to him, the outbreak of local meats. Even less the use of meat imports.
"A kilo of meat at 1300 or 1400 AD is exorbitant", he said, it is absolutely necessary to a price cap and an organization of the sector through the development of a logistics able to ensure a fair distribution of the product across all wilayas of the country, he said.
As for meat imports, it is "inexplicable", according to him to continue on the same trend, and even if Algeria was to import absolutely, the president of UNPA, believes that it should stock up instead of Sudan because of the proximity of the market.
"Even better, this country with more than 174 million sheep heads can deliver live cattle instead of sending us meat," he said.
Concerning soaring prices of agricultural products recorded in recent days, Mr. Alioui deplored the lack of organization that characterizes the sector in Algeria and the virtual absence of agricultural cooperatives.
"This state of affairs leaves room for speculators even when there is an overabundance of production," he said.
For Alioui, the development of the agricultural sector and the regulation of prices does not belong to the agriculture or trade sector alone. "It's more of a multisectoral coordination work that includes the water sector, industry, banks and operators," he said.
On this last point, he said that his organization has already spoken with the Forum of Business Leaders (FCE) which promised him to absorb the surplus production for agro-food factories but nothing has been done in this direction, he regretted.
Regarding the protection of agricultural land, Mr. Alioui stressed that the country's food security requires the preservation of agricultural land useful against industrialization and urbanism.
"Sacrificing fertile land to build housing or roads in the name of the general interest" is inadmissible because there is no more important than the food security of a country, "he said. said.
Farmers' spokesman, however, felt that the fertile outflow of land would end with the decision of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who instructed walis to ban any concession of fertile agricultural land to industrial project owners.
He also referred to the government's "determination" to recover undeveloped farmland, including land belonging to the state's private domain, for the benefit of farmers, thereby reviving the slogan "the land belongs to the the work ".
With regard to the conversion of the right of use into a concession right, by virtue of Law 03/10 amending that of 19/87 on the concession schemes and the right of use on agricultural land which was brought back from 99 years to 40 years renewable, Mr. Alioui stressed the need to complete this operation to comfort farmers through a rapid regularization of acts of concessions.
Finally, regarding the regularization of the "Arches" lands, the president of UNPA indicated that the file is not yet opened.
"There is a big problem in investing in ark lands. We discussed with the breeders that the investment will benefit their wilaya.