In Tunisia, cereals are the main staple food. However, consumption remains one of the lowest in North Africa and the production system is still lagging behind.
In Tunisia, dependence on the world market for the supply of cereals will increase in the coming years. This was indicated by the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI) in a recent report.
While the country of Jasmine consumes more than 4 million tons of grasses (wheat and barley) each year, it imports nearly 50% of this stock. If this proportion already places it in a situation of great vulnerability in the face of the volatility of international prices, ONAGRI estimates that this level of dependence should seize up to 75% in the short term.
To explain these forecasts, the institute highlights in particular the deterioration of climatic conditions, the insufficient use of inputs and poor farming practices. According to ONAGRI, the combination of these different factors penalizes national production and makes the country one of the worst off in the world.
Indeed, indicates the organization, Tunisia is in 120th place in a global ranking on cereal yield comprising 191 nations. The country notably displays 2 tonnes of wheat per hectare against, for example, 6 tonnes/hectare in Egypt.
“There is a need to invest in research to identify drought-resistant varieties and increase the use of selected seeds. We must also strengthen the popularization of good farming practices, producers’ access to financing and increase the capacity of strategic reserves”, suggests, among others, ONAGRI.
As a reminder, cereals are grown in Tunisia on nearly 900,000 hectares and account for 13% of the value of agricultural production. Durum wheat alone takes up more than half of the area.