Économie agroalimentaire

MAFAP presents preliminary findings on Tunisia’s food and agricultural spending


The Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) team has presented the preliminary findings of a public expenditure review for the food and agricultural sector in Tunisia to government officials and development partners at the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries in Tunis on 24 October 2023.

The analysis is part of a project - funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and implemented by the FAO Investment Centre and involving the FAO Trade and Markets Division and MAFAP (from the FAO Agrifood Economics and Policy Division) – aimed at supporting the efficiency of the grains sector in Tunisia through economic analyses and policy dialogue.

Wheat is a key staple and source of nutrition in Tunisia, accounting for around 45% of the food calorie supply, and imports of grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils from the Russian Federation and Ukraine make up roughly half of all food calories. Demand for wheat is set to rise over the next 10 years.

Key takeaways of the preliminary analysis include:

  • Tunisia’s public spending on food and agriculture as share of total agricultural value added is one of the highest in the region, at 12.3% in 2021.
  • This spending is rising in nominal terms since 2013 onwards, but not as fast as the sector is growing.
  • According to the Comprehensive Africa Development Programme definition, Tunisia spends around 4% of its annual budget on agriculture.
  • Food subsidies represent over half of the food and agricultural-specific expenditures.
  • The majority of food subsidies go on cereals, and subsidies on milk and vegetable oil have been rising since 2015.

The team from the Markets and Trade Division gave a presentation on the mid-term production and consumption outlook for cereals and other food products until 2032, which also covered a series of scenarios on the impact of various policy reform options on grains consumption, production and imports.

Next steps include the production of new updated outlook scenarios based on new assumptions discussed during the seminar and the launching of a working group hosted by the Ministry.

The meeting at the Ministry, which gathered around 40 participants from public entities and technical and financial partners involved in the grains sector, was opened by Salwa Ben Hadid, the recently appointed new CEO of the Tunisian Cereals Office. Also in attendance were Philippe Ankers, FAO Subregional Coordinator for North Africa and FAO Representative in Tunisia, and Iride Ceccacci, Associate Director, Head of Advisory and Agribusiness at the EBRD, as well as several colleagues from the FAO Investment Centre.