Tunisian farmers angry at Trade Ministry’s policy

The Tunisian Farmers’ Union (SYNAGRI) criticised the ongoing policy adopted by the Ministry of Trade for the import of three thousand tonnes of potatoes from Egypt.

In a statement, SYNAGRI says the cost of imported potatoes is estimated at $560 per tonne, or 1,680 millimes per kilo. The ton will then be offered for sale at 770 millimes per kilo, which increases the state’s losses.

Tunisian farmers are working as best they can in a difficult context (climate change, debt, rising production costs and rising prices for inputs such as seeds) to make the potato season a success. The union, therefore, regrets the government’s choice to support foreign products.

Besides, fruit, potato and poultry producers have called on Trade Minister Omar El Behi to find a radical and urgent solution to their situation, which has deteriorated due to recent decisions by his department to import potatoes and eggs for consumption and poultry.

Producers accused on Tuesday, during a protest sit-in outside the headquarters of the Trade Ministry, El Béhi, of causing heavy material losses to farmers, which will undoubtedly affect many agricultural sectors in the future.

The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the minister’s resignation and the cancellation of the unstudied import, recommending the immediate cancellation of the prior authorisation to export fruit, as well as the opening of land borders to ensure export to Libya and Algeria.

For member of the Tunisian Agriculture and Fishery Union (UTAP) executive board in charge of fruit trees and Maghreb trade, Ibrahim Trabelsi, Tunisia recorded this year, an excess of summer fruit production of 17%, compared to the past year and that about 40% of production is destined for the local market.

He added that the only way to promote the production of summer fruits is to export them across land borders (Libya and Algeria).


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