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UPDATE 1-Algeria grain harvest exceeds last year's 6 mln tonnes -APS quotes ag min

(Adds comment by agriculture minister, other details)

ALGIERS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Algeria's grain output for 2019 exceeded the 6 million tonnes harvested last year, Agriculture Minister Cherif Omari said on Tuesday, according to state news agency APS.

Algeria is one of the world's largest grain importers, but the government has been trying to cut purchases from abroad as part of attempts to reduce spending.

"First statistics show the production of more than 60 million quintals of cereals," APS quoted the minister as saying.

Last year's grain production of 6 million tonnes by the North African country represented a 74.4% rise from the previous year.

Algeria imports mainly soft wheat, with France as main supplier, but the quantities imported went down in 2019, Omari said.

"Algeria has managed to save $1 billion by reducing the amount of imported soft wheat," he said.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)

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