Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Algeria buys one million tonnes of wheat to slow riots

One of the Northern African countries marred by riots in recent days is about to make a large purchase of grain. Riots in Algeria were sparked by frustrations over the high cost of food. The Algerian government hopes that the purchase of one million tonnes of wheat will help to slow hostilities. Algeria has also made other steps to slash the price of food.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Lamine Chikhi talks to a source on why the purchase is needed.

The OAIC's director, Nouredine Kahel, refused to make any comment, but a source at the ministry said that there are three main reasons behind Algeria's decision to buy big quantities in a short period of time.

"One is that we want to make sure that we do have enough wheat in case of unrest," the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Several Algerian towns including the capital experienced days of rioting earlier this month, triggered by a sharp rise in food prices. Two people were killed and hundreds were injured during clashes between rioters and police, officials said. [ID:nLDE7080FZ]

To calm the situation, Algeria has decided to cut the cost of some foodstuffs and to increase by 18 percent the amount of soft wheat it supplies to the local market each month.

"This is the second reason behind Algeria's decision to buy big quantities of wheat," the source said.

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