Algiers has taken the action in order to offer some protection to the country’s citizens in the face of rising global food prices, the minister said on 18 December following a cabinet meeting earlier that day.

Prices have been set at AD 3,600 ($53.59) a quintal – a measure of wheat in Algiers – for standard wheat and AD 4,000 ($59.54) a quintal for higher quality wheat. The difference between the subsidised price and the global price will be paid for by the government.

Despite a small fall in global wheat prices between October and November, to $332 a tonne, prices have increased more than 50 per cent since this time last year, from $219 a tonne in November 2006. Algeria imports about two thirds of its total wheat consumption.