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Algerian Market Open Again for Business

North Africa regains a key market for California almond exports.

4/6/2021

Algerian Flag.jpg

In July 2020, the Algerian market was officially closed to almond imports. Import restrictions were placed on a total of 13 agricultural commodities, which were impacted to various degrees in terms of what months they were allowed to be imported.  

Almonds were the only commodity to be completely shut out of the market. The move by the Algerian government was an attempt to protect local almond production that, by most accounts, is very small. 

Prior to market closure, Algeria had been a small but growing market for California almonds. Handlers reported shipments of almost 10 million pounds in CY 19-20, which was an increase of 29% from the previous year. Thus, removing Algeria from the North Africa market mix would not go unnoticed and no doubt have regional reverberations.

With the unexpected announcement, ABC worked with the Embassy in Algiers to assist several handlers with consignments “on the seas” or in the port that had been impacted by the closure. While there was a general grace period by which consignments departing an exporting country on or before the law’s implementation of July 12, 2020 would be admitted into Algeria, the Algerian bureaucracy and the banking system, in particular, provided obstacles to importation of product caught in the transition.

ABC provided almond export data to the Embassy to support the call for market re-opening. USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative also reached out to Algerian authorities to call for reopening. These efforts eventually led to the government’s reconsideration of the almond ban and the recent announcement of re-opening, but with restrictions: California almond imports will be restricted during almond harvest time in Algeria (June 1 to August 31).

With the Algerian market back on line, Morocco close to breaching 30 million pounds, and the Egyptian market on an 8% growth spurt, North Africa as a region holds great promise as an emerging market for California almond shipments.

For more information, please contact Justina Torry, Agricultural Attaché, US Embassy Algiers, at TorryJ@state.gov or ABC’s Principal Specialist in Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs Geoffrey Bogart at gbogart@almondboard.com.

Please note: USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has produced a GAIN report that covers the details of the re-opening of the almond market. The report states, “Renewed market opportunities arise for U.S. almonds exports to Algeria following the adjustment of the import ban implemented by the Government of Algeria on July 12, 2020. Currently, almond imports will only be restricted during their harvest time in Algeria which is from June 1 to August 31.”