Algeria considers importing potatoes

Updated: 2012-09-10 17:11


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ALGIERS - Algeria is considering to import potatoes in face of a possible shortage in the market, Agriculture Minister Rachid Benaissa said Sunday.

Benaissa told the local Radio Channel III that the delay of potato-planting in July, mostly due to the lack of labor and the wave of heat that his the North African country, is likely to cause a shortage of potatoes.

Algerian government is considering to strike down speculation by "possibly resorting to importing potatoes," the minister said, adding that "the imported quantities will be limited and subject to quality control."

Imports should not exceed 2 percent of the annual production estimated at 4 million tons, he added.

The issue is being discussed by the National Inter-professional Commission of Potatoes, and "a decision should be taken according to the development of the situation," said Benaissa.

Benaissa said that his department tends to maintain the price of potatoes between 35 and 55 DZD per kilo ($0.46 to $0.73).

Potato has become an essential substance in Algerian dishes, with an average annual consumption of 106 kg per capita, according to figures provided by the minister. Currently, potatoes is sold at 70 DZD ($0.93) per kilo, a high price beyond the reach of low-income people.