Algeria’s economy is based primarily on oil and natural gas. The nation has the world’s fifth-largest reserves of natural gas and is the second-largest exporter. It also has the fourteenth-largest reserves of oil.
At independence, the economy was primarily based on agriculture, although since then other industries have eclipsed the importance of farming. Currently 22 percent of the population are farmers, but their production accounts for only 6 percent of the country’s economy. The agricultural industry is plagued by droughts, encroaching desert, poor irrigation, and lack of machinery as well as by government policies that favor industry over farming. Most food produced is for local consumption; the most common crops include wheat, barley, corn, and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables. However, Algeria is able to produce only 25 percent of its food needs.