This country item is part of the First Mediterranean CSA Mapping report generated in April 2016.
Author: Teycir Ben Naser – Co-founder and Co-president of the association “Terre & Humanisme Tunisie”.
With 163,610 km² and a population of 10,777,554 inhabitants, 5% of Tunisia’s surface area is covered in water, and around 10 million hectares of agricultural land, which makes up about 62% of its total size. 5 million hectares are cultivated land, 4 million ha are used for grazing and 1 million ha of forests and bush.
The agricultural sector represents 15% of the GDP and provides work for about 22% of the active population. The average size of farms is 10 ha (75% of the farms are smaller). The largest share of the agricultural production comes from animal breeding, followed by fruit (olives, dates, citrus fruits), vegetable growing and cereals. According to official data, the organic production in Tunisia amounts to 3% of the national GDP, has allowed the creation of 4,800 enterprises and provides about 73,000 jobs that are directly or indirectly connected to this sector of activities. The total surface of land dedicated to organic agriculture is 219,800 hectares.
History and characteristics of CSA
In Tunisia, there is no concrete experience of CSA as a formalised partnership. But there are several private initiatives (associations, cooperatives…) that have adopted the concept of solidarity, responsible consumption and that support sustainable agricultural practice. Tunisia Coop is one of the initiatives in this field that fosters responsible consumption through the « Souk de la Coop ». This market based on the concept of short chain marketing systems allows the consumer to discover and join the cooperative. It similarly enables the social link between consumers and producers to be restored.
Organic agriculture in Tunisia is, however, currently experiencing considerable growth. The State has established a national strategy based on strict regulations, training, the structuring and encouraging of organic farms. All these efforts are contributing to the creation of training centres and certification bodies based in Tunisia.
Several initiatives are acting in the same field in Tunisia, and share the recognition of the concept of Agroecology. It thus seems necessary to set up an organisation and/or a local and responsible partnership in order to bring all these efforts together.