Significant Efforts to Food Security in Tunisia

Food security plays a modest role in most countries’ economies, and in Tunisia, things aren’t any different. The country’s agricultural sector accounts for more than 12% of the total GDP and has been growing by about 2% each year.

However, farming remains heavily regulated due to the European Union’s profound influence. For example, a foreigner cannot own land in Tunisia. The only thing they can do is lease it for the long term from either individuals or the government. This immensely helps the government control the livelihood of its people. Below are significant contributors to food security in the country.

  1. The food-processing industry

The food industry in Tunisia has been ballooning each year, with each processing company employing at least ten workers. There are more than 1000 food processing companies, with a total yearly production of $11 billion. The industries mainly deal with cereals, cheese, oilseeds, sugar, and vegetable oils that represent 90% of the country’s imported raw material.

In the same vein, the industry has been improving its products for the past decade, affecting the citizens’ habits towards eating processed goods. This is primarily as a result of the importation of high-quality ingredients that steadily promote the production of high value, internationally approved canned foods. All the same, the local food retail sector is also doing well. Over the years, the distribution chain has been expanding thanks to joint ventures from countries like France.

  1. Effective Food storage facilities

Apart from the importation of raw materials for the food-processing industries, Tunisia also has nifty mechanisms to store locally available farm products. It has expansive storage facilities throughout the capital Tunis that handles bulk harvests. This significantly helps schools and restaurants to source food through annual tenders, according to the Tunisian government. Similarly, locals immensely utilize grain silos that boost food security at the grassroots. Although the country is semi-arid, it can partially sustain its citizens, unlike many North Sub-Saharan nations.

  1. Agricultural trade

Tunisia is certainly the leading exporter of dates and olive oil to the United States. The country’s total export earnings amount to about $208 million, with olive oil taking the lion’s share. On the flip side, Tunisia is a significant importer of maize from America.

Nonetheless, the country has an agreement to import breeding cattle, sheep, eggs, equine semen, and one-day chicks from the United States. It is again in the process of signing an understanding with the European Union that aims at boosting Tunisia’s export into the European market. Once the deal is sealed, it will see selected farmers’ farm products trade effectively in Europe.

  1. Extensive farming

Some of the agricultural products Tunisia Produces extensively include feed grains, soybeans, and crude vegetable oil. The country utilizes different types of farm machinery such as tractors, harvesters, and elevators to make farming a breeze.

Nevertheless, locals take up the use of modern irrigation systems considering Tunisia is in the arid parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Still, they use pesticides and fertilizers to boost their production. All this hails from the government’s support that offers an incentive of up to 50% on agricultural equipment, making food commodities affordable.  Notably, Tunisia aims at increasing annual olive oil production to help feed its citizens.

In a nutshell, Tunisia’s economy is still wavy due to the political instability in the country. Key sectors often come to a halt every time there are crisis, like what happened sometime in 2018. This immensely affects the productivity of the citizens as well as food security. As a result, much needs tweaking if the country is to continue making progress. Also, the government should implement laws that support workers’ welfare and wages.

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