Irish dairy in Algeria: The numbers…

Reporting from Algiers, Algeria.

Algeria is Africa’s largest country with a population of 41 million people, with this figure expected to rise by 10 million people in the next 10 years.

Algeria is only 40% self-sufficient in dairy, but is the world’s third largest importer of Whole Milk Powder (WMP) – after China and Mexico – and the 12th largest cheddar importer.

In the last decade, dairy imports to North Africa have grown by almost 50%, with Algeria and Egypt accounting for 75% of the total import figure.

As a destination for Irish dairy ingredient exports, demand in Algeria has doubled in value the last five years, delivering €50 million (department of agriculture figures) of sales across cheese, Skim Milk Powder (SMP) and WMP in 2018.

In 2019, total Irish exports to the North African country reached €54.4 million (Bord Bia) and, of that, dairy exports accounted for €54.1 million.

This week’s trade mission to the country is aimed at providing more opportunities for Irish dairy ingredients through technical seminars and business-to-business meetings for Irish dairy exporters.

Also Read: Department of Agriculture to lead trade mission to Algeria and Egypt

Ireland is also the largest supplier of cheddar cheese to the Algerian market and 9,776t of cheese was exported in 2018 – valued at €32 million. 2019 witnessed continued growth with exports reaching just under €35 million (11,659t).

Cheddar is the key dairy product used by Algerian cheese manufacturers, with whom Irish cheddar enjoys a solid reputation for its quality.

Algerian domestic cheese production is forecast to reach 22,000t by 2024 and imports could potentially grow by 20% to 31,000t.

Irish SMP exports to Algeria have shown strong growth, rising by 37% in 2018; in 2019, SMP exports again rose significantly, increasing in value to €9.1 million.

However, in 2018, Ireland exported €7.9 million in WMP to Algeria – a 64% decline from 2017. During 2019, a continued decline in WMP exports was witnessed – valued at €4.8 million.

Ireland exported €2 million worth of casein in 2018 – a 24% decline from 2017. Volumes decreased by 4.6% in 2018 to 512t. But, in 2019, full year estimates show a recovery with the value of exports rising by 33.3% to €2.4 million.

In Algeria, market demand is predominantly for powders reconstituted into drinking milk, with a 120L per capita dairy consumption vs. 140L per capita in Ireland.