Algeria Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Along the Mediterranean coast and 10-20 km inland there are fertile plains and valleys where grain, vegetables and fruits are grown. Otherwise, Algeria consists mostly of dry mountain or desert areas where animal husbandry occurs. In the mountains there is also a limited forestry and dates in the Sahara oases.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Algeria. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Important crops are wheat, barley, potatoes and onions, which are mainly grown for domestic use. Olives, citrus fruits, watermelon, figs and tobacco are also important products. Winery dominated during colonial times, when Algeria was the world’s largest wine exporter, but has declined sharply since then. Livestock keep sheep, goats and cattle not least in northeastern Algeria, but breeders are few and production is limited. For Algeria defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

The cultivable land constitutes just over three per cent of the land area and only a small part of that area is used. Drought and water scarcity pose serious problems for the farmers and the size of the grain crop varies greatly with the amount of rainfall. In addition, the soil has high salinity.

Depending on food imports

Prior to independence in 1962, Algeria exported many agricultural products and during the 1960s the country was almost self-sufficient in food. But while the population has tripled in half a century, food production has not increased much. Nowadays, half of the food needs must be met through purchases from abroad. To make the country more independent of food imports, a program was launched in 2014 with the aim of more than doubling the irrigated area in five years, by drilling wells and building irrigation systems. Investments were also made on, among other things, seeds and fertilizers, and interest-free loans to farmers (see further Financial overview).

Farmers who cultivate desert land gain ownership of this. The state has invested considerable financial resources on new farms in Sahara. With modern technology, it has been possible to drill all the way down to underground lakes that have watered the oases of the desert for millennia. The projects have often been successful, but experts have also warned of the effects on the environment if the underground water reservoirs are emptied.

Fishing and forestry

Mediterranean fishing is of great importance, but it is not fully utilized either. Essentially, sardines are fished. Foreign fishing vessels are authorized to catch tuna in Algerian waters.

Forests shrunk rapidly between the 1970s and 1990s due to soil destruction and desertification. Forest planting has occurred, but fires were created during the civil war in the 1990s (see Modern history) and dry summers with forest fires have led to large areas of newly planted forest having burned.

Climate change threatens to aggravate the situation and to destroy plans for increased agricultural production by reducing rainfall and rising temperatures.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

12.3 percent (2017)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

17.4 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of DZA stands for the state of Algeria in geography.



Hunger-striking bloggers are dying

December 11

A British-Algerian journalist, Mohamed Tamalt, dies after starving in protest against being sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the president in a poem published on Facebook. Tamalt began the hunger strike when he was arrested in June during a visit with his parents. He must have been in a coma for three months.


Protest against retirement age

November 27th

Police disperse protesters protesting against plans to put an end to early retirement, so that retirement age will be 60 for all Algerians. Public protests have been banned in Algeria since 2001.


Social media is blocked to prevent cheating

June 19

The authorities are stripping access to social media for several days, when at least half a million students are allowed to redo the bachelor’s degree after extensive cheating occurred on the regular occasion. Several tens of people, including teachers and graduates, have been arrested on suspicion of having leaked results to the exams. The leaks have caused a great stir in Algeria.

New action against Islamists

June 19

The Ministry of Defense states that 14 “Islamists” were killed in a strike eight miles south of Algiers. A total of 17 suspected terrorists have been killed during an operation launched on June 9.


Opposition to Islamists

May 31st

Army soldiers are said to have killed eight “terrorists” and seized weapons and ammunition following an assault at Setif. Thus, about 60 armed Islamists have been killed in three months. The total figure for 2015 was 157, according to the Ministry of Defense.


More Islamists killed

April 17

The government reports that 14 Islamists were killed during a military operation in the city of Kouinine in March. According to the government, a weapons hiding was also found in the area.


Rocket attack against gas plant

March 18th

Aqim takes on the attack on a plant in southern Algeria run by Sonatrach together with British BP and Norwegian Statoil. No one is hurt, but the attack is described as the most serious since the one in In Amenas (see January 2013).

Corruption accused ex-minister returns

March 18th

Former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil is reported to have returned to Algeria since the arrest warrant against him was lifted (see August 2013).

Imam gets imprisoned for death

March 8th

In one notable case, a radical imam is sentenced to six months in prison after he called on the state to execute the writer and journalist Kamel Daoud, whom he accused of blasphemy. The claim was made on Facebook in December 2014.


Constitutional amendments are adopted

February 7

After several days of debate, Parliament voted as expected with a broad margin for constitutional amendments presented by the government. Among the more important proposals are that the president should only be able to sit for two terms of office, the president will have to nominate a prime minister from the largest party in parliament, tamazight becomes official language with the Arab and an independent electoral commission is established. Equality is also guaranteed between men and women in working life and young people are recognized as a force in the country’s development. The opposition party FFS has called the proposals cosmetic.

New convictions in corruption scandal within Sonatrach

February 2

Fifteen people with background in the state oil company and four European companies are sentenced to prison and fines for involvement in bribery. Among those convicted are former CEO Mohamed Méziane, who is convicted of new crimes (see also May 2011), two of his sons, a former deputy CEO, the former head of a state bank etc. The prison sentences are between 18 months conditional and up to six years.


New security services are formed

30th of January

Reportedly, the formerly powerful intelligence service DRS has been dissolved and three new security services reporting directly to the president have been established (see also August and September 2015).

Suspected Islamists killed

January 29th

The military states that four armed men killed in Ain Defla in the north were part of a terrorist group that killed nine soldiers in the same area in July 2015. Aqim said he was behind that assault.

Independence hero is buried

January 1st

Tens of thousands of Algerians gather in a mountain village in Kabylia at the funeral of the last of nine heroes of the War of Independence, Hocine Aït Ahmed. Aït Ahmed was a FLN leader during the war but then broke out and founded the FFS in 1963. He was sentenced to death the following year but fled and then lived most of his life in exile in Switzerland.

Algeria Agriculture and Fishing