Algeria

This country item is part of the First Mediterranean CSA Mapping report generated in April 2016.

torba FB

  • Number of existing partnerships in Algeria:   1 founded in 2013, and 2 currently being established. The partnerships are called AMAP in Algeria, and they now feed about 30 families.
  • National Context 

Algeria is the largest country in Africa, and is home to 40 million inhabitants. It is estimated that Algeria’s food production covers around half of its consumption. It is one of the main cereal and milk powder importing countries.

  • Agricultural data

The arable land consists mainly of a coastal strip reaching as far as the Atlas mountains, as well as highlands dominated by pastoralism, where water is a scarce resource, and finally the oases of the Saharan south. A new industrial type of agriculture is currently developing in some regions (Biskra, El Oued), based on the use of water pumped up from the water table. Vegetables are produced thanks to the heavy use of chemical inputs.

The average farm size is around 5 hectares. Traditional family farming is still firmly rooted, but certified organic agriculture remains marginal; the population thus eats both products that have not been exposed to chemicals (cereals, some vegetables and fruit, olive oil…) and other heavily exposed products (tomatoes, potatoes, poultry, imported products…).

  • History and characteristics of the Local and Solidarity-based Partnerships

The history of local solidarity-based partnerships in Algeria started with an experience of direct sales between a farmer and consumers’ collective. The group formed to buy his weekly production and to distribute it at a given point in the Western suburbs of Algiers.

The group receives the vegetables/fruit from Ammi Rachid, a traditional vegetable grower, who has converted to Agroecology. The vegetables are paid for upfront, at the beginning of the season (there are 2 seasons during the year: Autumn and Spring). The farmer commits to growing without using any chemical inputs. The choice was made not to opt for official organic certification, since the quantities produced are still relatively modest. Furthermore, certification would have to be through a foreign organization from France or Tunisia. The group preferred to consider the trust-based relationship as the best way to certify their producer.

The price is built to reflect the market standards. However, in this direct selling scheme, the farmer receives approximately an additional 30% that would otherwise go to the middleman. Another interesting feature of this model lies in its time-saving dimension: the farmer does not have to spend his day on the roadside selling his produce.

As organic consumers, the group members agree to accept products even if they do not look perfect, are misshapen, or if their size is not standard. When joining, group members sign a charter whereby they accept a product that would not comply with the market standards. On the other hand, the charter also stipulates that the product price should not be more than 20% above that of the market price.

Every Friday, the producer delivers his produce to the Fayet club, the meeting point of the Torba association. During the weekly distribution, 2 of the group members take care of weighing and distributing the fruit and vegetables for each of the 30 shares. Each member is responsible for the distribution at least once a season.