Strategic study on "Food and Nutrition Security" presented | Tunisia News Gazette

Strategic study on “Food and Nutrition Security” presented

A strategic study on “Food and Nutrition Security” was presented Thursday in Tunis

Key recommendations of the study, conducted by the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (ITES), include the need to raise public awareness about food security, devise a new national strategy in this area, put in place a national council as well as local councils and develop a national food security indicator.

ITES President Neji Jalloul said it is imperative to lend particular importance to food safety; Tunisia needs to tap its large agricultural potential, he emphasised.

The agricultural system is faced with a number or challenges, mainly a low rate of mechanisation, scattered agricultural parcels and the quantum of state lands (97% of agricultural land in the governorate of Tozeur belong to the state).

ITES expert Karim Ben Kahla said 350, 000 ha of state land across the country remain untapped because of legal conflicts along with a further 100,000 ha of endowment land and 65,000 ha of land illegally occupied by private individuals.

Food imports are on the rise and account for 9.2% of total imports; the contribution of agriculture to GDP fell from 19.6% in 1962 to 8.1% in 2016. The same goes for the added value of this activity which stood at 10.44% in 2015 against a global average of 12.37%.

Cereals make the bulk of Tunisia’s food imports (43%) along with edible oils and sugar. The cereal import dependence reached roughly 60%.

The official cited a series of challenges related essentially to the storage capacity for agricultural products, decline in agricultural productivity, water shortage, distribution circuits, smuggling and plant diseases.

Tunisia was ranked 53rd out of 113 countries in the 2016 Global Food Security Index.

Source: TAP News Agency

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