A recent study by the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (part of the Presidency of the Republic) has predicted that the country will lose 50 per cent of its agricultural lands by 2050, Anadolu reports.
The study, released Thursday, shows that 10% of Tunisians are threatened by food insecurity in the upcoming years and 96 per cent of the country’s area is directly and indirectly threatened by desertification.
In a press statement, Neji Jalloul, head of the Institute, attributed the most important problems the agriculture is facing to the import of seeds from abroad, the reluctance of young people to invest in this field, the internal migration from rural areas to urban areas and the desertification that threatens agricultural lands.
Tunisia suffers from limited water resources and an annual decrease in rainfall by almost 20 per cent. The country produces only 40 per cent of its domestic grain needs and imported 3,381 tonnes in 2016.
Its agricultural lands area exceeds 10 million hectares, which represents 62 per cent of the area that is divided between 5.25 million hectares of planted areas and 4.8 million hectares pastures.
On the other hand, the area of forests and plains (flatlands that lack water) is 1.6 million hectares, according to the data of the Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency (Governmental).
In a press statement during the event, Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Samir Taïeb said that Tunisia’s food security situation is normal. “Tunisia produces most of its food needs except for the grains, but it (the food security) is fragile due to malnutrition in some areas because of climate change,” he explained.
Along with the Institute, the study was prepared by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and Tunisian ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Ministry of Health.