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Reference Date: 03-September-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Above average cereal harvest gathered in 2014

  2. Relatively stable domestic grain prices observed

  3. Economic growth recovers but high unemployment rates, in particular among young people, remains a concern

Above average cereal harvest gathered in 2014

The 2014 grain harvest in Tunisia concluded in July. Despite lack of rains in December 2013 in the northern part of the country, primarily producing cereals, favourable weather conditions prevailed for the rest of the season providing wheat and barley with sufficient moisture for development. Southern part of the country did not experience a period of dryness. In Tunisia crop production varies markedly from year to year depending on the significant rainfall variations. Irrigated wheat area represents less than 15 percent of the total wheat area planted.

Preliminary estimates of the 2014 cereal production point to a well above average harvest of 2.5 million tonnes. At this level, the crop is almost 90 percent higher than last year’s below-average crop and some 25 percent above the previous five-year average. Most of the grain produced is wheat which in 2014, at about 1.7 million tonnes recorded an increase of over 75 percent compared to last year’s weather-stricken harvest.

Tunisia relies heavily on grain imports, mainly wheat, even in good production years. Accordingly, cereal import requirements in the current marketing year 2014/15 (July/June) are put at about 2.8 million tonnes, about 20 percent higher than last year and 23 percent higher than the five‑year average.

Domestic grain prices stable but some increases observed in the rate of inflation

In spite of the country’s high import dependency rate, changes in international grain prices do not translate into changes in domestic prices, mainly due to Government subsidies on basic food items. Prices of wheat products, the main staple in the country, are relatively stable, as reflected by the very low inflation of bread and cereals (less than 3 percent on a yearly basis since January 2012). Overall, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached 6 percent in July 2014 on a yearly basis, while the food price inflation reached 8.2 percent.

Economic growth recovers but unemployment rate remains high

The economy is slowly recovering from the 1.8 percent contraction in 2011 to a forecasted growth of about 2.5 percent in 2014. The Tunisian economy is severely affected by the economic and financial difficulties that the countries of the European Union, Tunisia’s main trading partners, are going through.

The unemployment rate remains at a high level (15.2 percent in the first quarter of 2014, a slight decrease from the 19 percent in 2011). Youth unemployment (15‑29 year-olds) remains particularly high reaching over 30 percent in 2012.









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