GIEWS Country Brief: Tunisia 14-December-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Below-average cereal production gathered in 2018

  • Cereal imports in 2018/19 forecast at average level

  • Food inflation increased in October

Below-average cereal production gathered in 2018

Sowing of the 2019 grain crops started in October and the bulk of the winter wheat and barley was sown in November. Unlike in the previous three years, when rainfall deficits delayed plantings until December, above-average precipitation across the main growing areas between September and the first decade of November replenished soil moisture and increased water reserves in dams.
Crops are well established and favourable soil moisture conditions supported early emergence of wheat crops.

Harvesting of the 2018 winter grains was completed in June. The 2018 cereal production was officially estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, 10 percent below the 2017 average harvest.
For the 2019 harvest, about 700 000 hectares are planned to be planted with wheat and 620 000 hectares with barley, compared to 620 000 and 525 000 hectares, respectively, planted in the previous year. It is reported that seeds and fertilizers were available across the country.

The country aims to reach a domestic production of 2.7 million tonnes of cereals per year. Policy instruments used include guaranteed farmgate prices (USD 312 per tonne of durum wheat,
USD 225 per tonne of common wheat and USD 200 per tonne of barley in the 2018/19 marketing year), subsidized input and irrigation water prices as well as technical assistance to irrigated wheat production. Domestic crop production varies markedly from year to year because of the significant rainfall variations.

The irrigated wheat area represents less than 15 percent of the total wheat planted area.