Algeria produced more than 56,000 qt of cork in 2019/2020 campaign

APS - 21 March 2021

ALGIERS- Algeria's cork production reached 56,489 quintals (qt) at the end of the 2019-2020 campaign, against 59,607 qt during the previous campaign, the Directorate General of Forests (DGF) said on Sunday.

"The DGF expected a harvest of 70,612 qt through more than twenty cork provinces," Houari Djardini, an official at the General Inspectorate of the DGF told APS.

The country's average cork production is around 60,000 qt per year, according to Djardini.

In 2018, Algeria harvested 89,309 qt of cork. This forest engineer added that the cork production has fallen sharply in recent years, compared to previous years when Algeria was ranked among the major cork producing countries in the Mediterranean.

As for the reasons behind the decline in national production, this official cited the aging of trees and the regression of the areas occupied by the cork oak in the production regions "which went from 450,000 hectares to 200,000 hectares."

Moreover, "these very limited areas of cork forests are under-exploited compared to their actual capacities estimated at 100,000 qt," he said, attributing this under-exploitation by difficult access to the forest massifs.

To boost the existing cork-growing resources nationwide, this forest engineer calls for the development and the rehabilitation of the cork forest, and the rehabilitation of cork oak forests damaged by forest fires.

Djardini also underlined the need to modernize industrial processing facilities in order to increase sales of this forest high -value product.

A good part of the national cork production is intended for foreign markets after its transformation, said Djardini stressing that the exploitation of raw cork by individuals is prohibited by law.

Indeed, the exploitation, collection, processing and sale of cork from state lands is entrusted exclusively to the public group GGR (Rural Engineering Group) and its six subsidiaries which operate across the different regions of the country, he said.

This organic product which is very expensive is used as a raw material in particular for the production of thermal and sound insulation panels for homes as well as for the manufacture of stoppers.

According to data collected from the DGF, the cork crop campaign starts in mid-June of each year and continues until mid-September, except in the event of major unforeseen events such as hot weather, forest fires or even heavy rains.