The development of the main agricultural fields (meat, cereal and milk) is in among the key priorities of the 2015 – 2019 development plan, drawn up by the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, said Sunday in Algiers the Ministry’s Secretary General, Fodil Ferroukhi. The implementation of this programme requires coordination between the different sectors of trade, industry, finance, higher education, training and water resources, Ferroukhi explained in a statement to APS, on the sidelines of the closure ceremony of the 14th international Agriculture Fair (SIPSA). He said that these priorities are part of projects that the ministry has no achieved during the 2010-2014 plan. The new five-year plan will focus on the development and the organization of agricultural fields, in order to avoid the surge in prices as in the case of the field of red meat, which knows different problems. The problems linked to marketing, prices and other difficulties in the field of milk, marked by the drop of the production are among the main concerns that should be addressed. He also underlined the necessity to develop the agricultural lands in the country’s South in order to create agricultural and breeding farms and to develop the equipment of supplementary irrigation. For his part, the assistant director of irrigation techniques at the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Mohamed Kessira underlined the need to encourage farmers to buy new irrigation equipment. He added that the needs will reach 12 billion cubic metres until 2019, adding that the objective of two million hectares of agricultural lands requires the purchasing of irrigation equipment, which are 50 percent subsidized by the State. The strategy of rationalisation of water consumption adopted since 2010 yielded positives results. The agricultural area has increased from 75,000 ha equipped with irrigation equipment in 2000 to 518,000 ha in 2014, and the irrigated lands from 350,000 ha in 2000 to 1,100,000 ha currently. The Ministry of Agriculture started, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, to implement a strategy to endow farmers with water meters to measure the quantity of water used. This strategy will be examined in the framework of a joint programme with the ministries concerned, in order to find ways to implement it. For his part, Aflighaou Abderrahmane, assistant director at the Ministry of Water Resources in charge of small and medium irrigation, underlined the needs to reinforce water resources, by building dams and wells, and the reuse of treated water. The Ministry of Water Resources can install water meters in wells to measure the quantity used and encourage farmers to estimate the used quantity and to save water, he told APS.