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Algeria aims to make potato export "structural"

View of El Oued, Algeria (2010). In this Sahara desert town, potatoes are grown in irrigated crop circles amidst small palm oases. Meanwhile, the potato production in El Oued has expanded to 40% of the total production of Algeria - see second photo in this article. (Courtesy: Bloomberg)

Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fishing Sid Ahmed Ferroukhi stressed Thursday in Algiers that potato exports will continue during the three upcoming years to reach 70,000 tons.

Professionals must prepare well in terms of choice varieties, calibre and packaging capacities, the minister stated at a press conference held on the sidelines of an assessment meeting of the potato sector, which brought together the involved actors.

Following the surplus recorded during the 2015/2016 season, some operators exported to the Gulf countries and Europe while others are prospecting markets in Africa and Asia.

Out of a potential demand of importing countries amounting to 25,000 tons for Algerian potato in 2016, only 2,000 tons have been exported so far.

The aim consists in making these exports "structural" and achieve 70,000 tons in the three upcoming years, Ferroukhi stressed.

In this regard, he added that a packaging platform will be commissioned in June in El Oued, a region that ensures about 40% of the national potato production.

This aerial photo by George Steinmetz submitted at Italian photo festival La Gacilly in 2015 shows how potato cultivation in the region around El Oued has been developed using pivot irrigation.