Tunisia plans to promote bio farming
Oct. 14, 2009
Tunisia plans to set up a comprehensive strategy to promote bio farming, due to be implemented by 2016, according to Al Bawaba. A report from Global Arab Network said that the strategy provides for extending areas of biological crops, especially after Tunisia’s June 2009 inclusion in the list of countries exporting biological products to the EU up to 2012. Thanks to the measures taken to promote the sector, Tunisia has increased the total areas of biological farming land from 16,000 hectares (ha) in 2001 to 285,000 ha in 2008. It is expected that by 2011, the yield of bio farming products will reach 220 thousand tons.
Since the implementation of a 1999 law to organize the sector’s development, Tunisia has granted incentives to encourage farmers to produce biological products and has also undertaken actions in training, retraining and development of scientific research so as to promote the production of biological farming. The report stressed the sector’s prospects in the region, particularly with regard to olive, forestry, pasture, fodder and fruit growing, as well as farmers’ increased interest in biological farming.
Local authorities in collaboatation with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources are also devising a plan to brand the Sbiba apple to increase its visibility on Arab and European markets. The Ministry has also announced that cereal producer prices will be maintained at their current level; despite changes in wheat prices on the world market, prices will be maintained during the harvest period and will be added to current subsidies.
Tunisia has set up a development plan providing for the creation of an area of 122 ha, three public schemes, and the equipment for 5 drillings to irrigate an area of 60 ha, the completion in three years of 30 other medium-depth drillings to irrigate 300 acres and create 600 jobs in governorate of Gabes. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources has recently set up a call center available to farmers, developers, investors and all parties involved in promotional work, which offers the main characteristics of each agricultural region as well as investment opportunities it offers.
Tunisian officials have stressed the importance of diversifying production methods with the aim of improving quality and competitiveness.
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