Agriculture in Algeria
|This article does not cite any sources. (August 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
A considerable amount of cotton was grown during the early 1860s because of the American Civil War in the United States, but the industry declined afterwards. In the early years of the 20th century efforts to extend the cultivation of the plant were renewed. A small amount of cotton is also grown in the southern oases. Large quantities of crin vegetal (vegetable horse-hair), an excellent fibre, are made from the leaves of the dwarf palm. The olive, both for its fruit and oil, and tobacco are cultivated with great success.
Throughout Algeria the soil favours the growth of vines. The country, in the words of an expert sent to report on the subject by the French government, "can produce an infinite variety of wines suitable to every constitution and to every caprice of taste".
The growing of vines was undertaken early by the colonists, but it was not until vineyards in France were attacked by phylloxera that the export of wine from Algeria became significant. In 1883, despite precautionary measures, Algerian vineyards were also attacked but in the meantime the quality of their wines had been proved. In 1850, less than 2,000 acres (8 km²) were devoted to the grape, but in 1878, this had increased to over 42,000 acres (170 km²), which yielded 7,436,000 gallons (28,000 m³) of wine. Despite bad seasons and ravages of insects, cultivation extended, and in 1895, the vineyards covered 300,000 acres (1,200 km²), the produce being 88,000,000 gallons (333,000 m³). The area of cultivation in 1905 exceeded 400,000 acres (1,600 km²), and in that year the amount of wine produced was 157,000,000 gallons (594,000 m³). By that time the limits of profitable production had been reached in many parts of the country. Practically the only foreign market for Algerian wine is France, which in 1905 imported about 110,000,000 gallons (416,000 m³).
The Algerian body responsible for wine cultivation is called the National Office of Marketing of Wine Products (ONCV).