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Country Briefs

  Tunisia

Reference Date: 31-October-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Average cereal production gathered in 2017

  2. Cereal imports in 2017/18 forecast at average level

  3. Food inflation increased in August

Average cereal production gathered in 2017

Land preparation for the sowing of the 2018 grain crop is currently underway under favourable weather conditions. Although in some parts sowing starts in October, the bulk of the winter wheat and barley is sown in November.

Harvesting of the 2017 winter grains finished in June. The 2017 cereal production was officially estimated at about 1.6 million tonnes, 25 percent above the 2016 weather-stricken harvest and on par with the previous five-year average (2012-2016). For the 2017 harvest, some 800 000 hectares were planted with wheat and 640 000 hectares with barley, compared to 610 000 and 500 000 hectares, respectively, planted in the previous year. Slightly over 400 000 hectares of cereals were affected by rainfall deficits during the season, mostly in the northern part of the country, seriously limiting production recovery. A normal availability of seeds and fertilizers was reported.

Local 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.

Cereal imports in 2017/18 forecast at average level

The country relies heavily on grain imports, mainly wheat, even in good production years. Accordingly, cereal import requirements in the current 2017/18 marketing year (July/June) are put at about 3.7 million tonnes, about the same as last year and close to the five‑year average.

Annualised food inflation increased in August 2017

In spite of the country’s high import dependency rate, changes in international grain prices do not fully translate into changes in domestic prices, mainly due to the 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 rate of bread and cereals (less than 3 percent on a yearly basis since January 2012). Overall, the food and beverage Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September 2017 recorded an increase of 6 percent on a year‑on‑year basis, compared to around 3 percent in August 2016.

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