Beginning in October, farmers in Tunisia’s northwest, particularly Beja, Jendouba, Zaghouan, will begin planting cereal crops like wheat and barley and leguminous crops including chickpea, lentil and faba which will both feed soil and stock pantries. A select few farmers in the region will also plant canola, an industrial oilseed supplied by French agribusiness giant Groupe AVRIL who is partnering with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture to develop a canola sector that is « 100% Tunisian ». The project is in fact part of a decades-long push to introduce canola as a « locally grown » alternative to imported grains and oils.
La guerre perdue de Youssef Chahed
Lors de son discours belliqueux à l’occasion du vote de confiance à son gouvernement remanié devant l’Assemblée des Représentants du Peuple (ARP), le 12 septembre 2017, Youssef Chahed, le chef du gouvernement tunisien, a ouvertement déclaré la guerre aux quatre cavaliers de l’apocalypse qui en Tunisie se nomment terrorisme, corruption, chômage et disparités régionales. Malgré ses visibles échecs sur les trois fronts socioéconomiques, et surtout la mise en berne de la lutte anticorruption, il prétend, selon ses dires, qu’avec un simple remaniement, il peut faire de ses ministres « un gouvernement de guerre » capable de reprendre l’initiative stratégique. Mais à y voir de près, l’armée hétéroclite qu’il a levée tient plus d’une fanfare militaire que d’une troupe de combat.
Liberalization of Tunisia’s agricultural sector: moving towards the inevitable?
Amidst a circle of union representatives, business-owners, farmers, and researchers, reservations and concerns regarding the impact of a free trade agreement on Tunisia’s agricultural sector were part of a debate that was ultimately less about whether or not than how to proceed with a “greater integration into the European economic space.”
EU “support” for Tunisia: loans and free trade to remedy terrorism
With each measure of “support” the EU has offered Tunisia—whether in the form of a sizable loan for security reforms, or a free trade agreement for economic growth—particular emphasis has been placed on the recent successes and imperative role of civil society in the country’s path to democracy. But if what Tunisian civil society demands is a shifting of the scales and relations based on reciprocity, is Europe really prepared to listen?
Debt, Farmers, and Farming Companies in Tunisia: laying ground for security and stability through agricultural reform
If important steps have been taken to improve management and optimize exploitation of State-owned agricultural lands and alleviate the debts of tenants who lease these properties, adopted measures are yet limited and incomplete … Working at the very heart of a sector upon which depends the country’s food security and, to a certain extent, the economy, Tunisian farmers have yet to gain substantial financial backing, adequate legal support, and due political recognition. Moving onward from a year of climatic fluctuations and political violence which have had devastating effects upon the sector, government officials and decision-makers will do well to recognize and invest in agriculture as the base from which sovereignty, security, and stability can grow.