Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Algeria's agricultural sector - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
30 November-1 December 2021
Regional Consultation

Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Algeria's agricultural sector

Image of participants
  • Algiers,Algeria

Within the framework of the project on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Arab region, ESCWA, in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, organized a national consultation session on the agricultural sector in Algeria. The session is part of a series of five national consultation sessions in Arab countries.

The consultation session considered ways to bolster Algeria's agricultural sector in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. The session, which gathered key national stakeholders from the agriculture sector, in addition to experts from research centers and academia, representatives and experts from the private sector and the FAO office in Algiers, resulted in practical recommendations and the identification of national priorities.   

It is expected that these five national consultation sessions in the targeted countries will result in a comprehensive document that identifies priorities and recommendations for the region's agricultural sector.

Outcome document

The national consultation session aimed at identifying ways of enhancing the agricultural sector’s resilience and sustainability and the resilience of watersheds in Algeria in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. Main key messages that resulted from the consultation session included:

  • Expanding the use of water harvesting and continuing to introduce modern irrigation systems to maximize benefits and reduce water losses.
  • Using improved seeds that are resistant to drought and heat.
  • Supporting and increasing investment in strategic crops, especially cereals, with the aim of reducing their import bill and achieving a minimum level of self-sufficiency in those crops.
  • Supporting the adoption and research on smart farming techniques to enhance resilience against the negative effects of climate change.
  • Developing industrial crops through integrated valorisation, especially in the fields of oil production, peanuts, soy, sugar and sugar beets.
  • Improving livelihoods conditions in mountainous, steppe, pastoral and desert rural areas and creating jobs in those areas.
  • Preserving and sustainably exploiting natural resources.
  • Providing facilities and support to farmers, especially in the field of microfinance, through the introduction of micro-loans and the revival of social coverage for farmers
  • Supporting research, training and guidance in the agricultural field to contribute to the introduction of modern technologies in agriculture and supporting and promoting innovation in agricultural fields and introducing agricultural products capable of adapting to current and future climate changes.
  • Reclaiming degraded agricultural lands to improve their productive capacities as well as lands prone to desertification by restoring the vegetation cover
  • Effectively combatting the spread of forest fires (implementing the fire management plan) and promoting the role of forests as a tool for improving water quality
  • Reviewing and updating agricultural production strategies
  • Raising awareness of consumers and reinforcing the culture of rational consumption of agricultural products
  • Redeveloping model farms close to urban centres and giving women and the youth the right to exploit them
  • Reclaiming badly exploited farms and assigning them to new individuals who can better manage them with appropriate selection criteria
  • Providing support and concessional financing to small farmers, especially youth and women.

This paper presented an overview of the most important factors that affect agricultural development and food security in the Arab region, especially those related to water and land conservation, and to climate change impact. The paper also included a conceptual framework on resilience and sustainability, and a guide for following up and evaluating the state of sustainability in the Arab agricultural sector. It also addressed the main requirements for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in the Arab region.

This paper presented the context of the agricultural sector in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon and the challenges faced by rural agricultural communities in these countries, mainly climate change, decline in areas of agricultural lands and water scarcity. Additionally, the paper addressed vulnerabilities of rural agricultural communities in the three countries and presented a number of proposed measures to enhance the resilience of the rural agricultural communities in each country.

Given the water scarcity problem in the Arab region, this paper focused on the high potential of rainfed agriculture to improve production and productivity levels in several countries of the Arab region. The paper also presented agricultural strategies and practices that allow improving water and land productivity in rainfed agriculture through adopting rainwater harvesting, supplemental irrigation, conservation agriculture, genetic improvement, integrated disease and weed control, among other good practices. Additionally, the paper noted the need to increase investment, capacity building and research in rainfed agriculture.

During this session a brief introduction to the agriculture sector in Egypt was presented, in addition to efforts made in agricultural development and main risks and challenges facing the sector and its sustainability, especially in relation to water and land resources and climate change impacts. The presentation also covered main interventions and trends towards enhancing resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt.

During the session the different components of the project implemented by UNESCWA and FAO in the Algerois watershed in Algeria were presented. National and local stakeholders were consulted on the different technical approaches developed to conduct the following studies:

  • Regional climate modeling to generate high-resolution future and baseline climate projections at the watershed scale,
  • Assessing climate change vulnerability at the watershed scale using RICCAR integrated vulnerability assessment methodology,
  • Assessing the effect of climate change on crop production in the watershed.

The outcomes of these studies will be used to prepare climate-proofed integrated watershed management design and resilience package in the Algerois watershed.

Participants were separated into three working groups as per the following dimensions for enhancing resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector:

  • Socio-economic dimension/ adaptive capacity 
  • Environmental dimension and climate change/ climate sensitivity
  • Women and youth empowerment

Participants discussed each of the above-mentioned dimensions and the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Algeria and the Algerois Basin and proposed a number of solutions and indicators to measure improvement.

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