Algeria imports beef ahead of Ramadan Algeria imports beef ahead of Ramadan

Algeria imports beef ahead of Ramadan

Algeria imports beef ahead of Ramadan

Algeria is importing massive quantities of beef and lamb to meet an expected explosion in meat demand throughout the holy month of Ramadan, hoping to stabilize prices as the country's economy remains in difficulty.

The oil-rich North African country is among countries scrambling to import food and fuel , hoping to meet the needs of Algerians who prepare nightly feasts as their families break up fasting from sunrise to sunset.

For Algerians flocking to the new imported meat stores , run by butchers in white coats, the arrival of beef from as far away as Australia arouses both enthusiasm and skepticism.

"Opening stores like this is a breath of fresh air for those who cannot afford local meat. As you have seen, the product is high quality, and it "That's good ," said Rabah Belahouane, a retired teacher, after waiting in line for 30 minutes in front of a new store.

By importing food products , Algeria hopes to avoid the surge in prices that affects those who cannot afford red meat locally. Such inflation hit the country as recently as last year, when the supply of onions could not meet demand. Neighboring Tunisia plans to import bananas from Egypt , while Mali plans to accept fuel donations from Russia .

For Algeria, the decision to import 100,000 tonnes of red meat during Ramadan reverses a previous policy banning the import of these products. This policy was intended to support domestic producers, but it attracted backlash due to soaring prices of local meat.

“The president decided to reopen imports in order to allow ordinary citizens to eat meat at a reasonable price and not have to put up with butchers who sell local meat, although of better quality, at impossible prices” , declared last week the Algerian Minister of Commerce, Mr. Tayeb Zitouni.

The import plan comes as meat prices remain high compared to the median income and minimum wage in Algeria, which has struggled to control inflation and the rising cost of living.

Butchers understand that their prices pose a challenge to the country's consumers, but they disagree with officials like Zitouni who blame them .

“Local meat is expensive. It has unfortunately become a luxury product, but that is not the fault of the butchers and that is not a reason to unfairly point the finger at them ,” says Salim Lamari, 40, owner from a family butcher's shop east of Algiers.

According to him, butchers depend on breeders, who have had to increase their prices due to drought and rising feed prices.

The crisis has led Algeria, where politicians have long been skeptical of imports, to grant new import licenses to private companies and public bodies governing the meat industry.

The country expanded existing contracts with meat suppliers in Argentina and began importing from Brazil, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Russia and Australia as the first week of Ramadan begins .

The meat was vacuum-packed and shipped in refrigerated vehicles for distribution across the country.

Although many people scrambled to buy meat at a fraction of the national price ahead of the holy month, the Agriculture Ministry has repeatedly told local media that critics who question the quality of the meat carried out propaganda.

Algeria, whose population is a large meat consumer, imports an average of 103,889 head of livestock per year, including breeding animals, fattening cattle and beef cattle, according to figures from the World Agriculture Organization. animal health published before the Ramadan wave.

Algeria also imports beans and onions to deal with recurring shortages in supermarkets and avoid the price spike that occurred during last year's holy month.

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