FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO supports the establishment of a master’s degree in water productivity in Tunisia

July 2022 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations  (FAO) in Tunisia has supported the establishment of a master's degree in water productivity through a partnership between the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia and the Office of Planning and Hydraulic Balances (BPEH) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Hydraulic Resources and Maritime Fishing.

This master’s degree is the first of its kind in the Mediterranean region, and aims to strengthen the capacities and enrich the practical skills of professionals operating in the sectors of water management and agricultural production so that they can integrate the concepts of water productivity, efficiency and sustainability in their work.

The water productivity master’s degree will welcome its first class in September 2022, composed of fifteen Tunisian agricultural engineers from different backgrounds and specialties.

A response to real expectations in Tunisia

These expectations have been highlighted by the national technical partners in Tunisia under the framework of the regional project “Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for water efficiency/productivity and water sustainability in the NENA region”, which is implemented in eight countries including Tunisia. This project, which focuses on creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge, has worked to introduce key concepts for better use of each drop of water in the agricultural sector to engineers and technicians of the MoA.

A capacity-building program was therefore set up in partnership with international universities and research centers, including the University of Cordoba and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, allowing to train a number of national engineers on water productivity, efficiency and accounting as well as remote sensing mapping and evapotranspiration measurement tools.

This capacity-building program has been successful in building national cores of expertise in various fields .  However, the process highlighted the urgent need to equip the country with the necessary skills in a sustainable manner. The project also highlighted the gaps in knowledge and scientific research in the water sector related to agricultural production.

This master's degree aims to meet these expectations through an innovative approach.

An innovative master's degree in more than one way

This master’s degree aims to create an impact on the field by developing skills and knowledge oriented to the resolution of agricultural water problems in Tunisia. To this end, the degree is built on theoretical modules but also with a large field component that will allow visits to plots and meetings with farmers, experimental field work, visits to waterworks, etc..

The degree will also allow professionals and decision-makers to intervene with students to explain the challenges, the working methods and their expectations as well, thus creating a bridge between the two worlds of research and development.

This activity is carried out within the framework of the regional project "Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for water efficiency/productivity and water sustainability in the Near East and North Africa region", under the Water Scarcity Initiative. This project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.