TUNISIA – Tunisia plans to import 385,000 tonnes of soft wheat from France, up 54% compared to the stock of 250,000 shipped a year earlier.

The announcement was made on November 7 by Philippe Heusèle, president of international relations within the Association of French Cereal Producers (Intercéales France).

According to country data, Tunisia plans to import 1.1 million tonnes of soft wheat during the 2023/2024 period.

Tunisia has been experiencing a prolonged period of drought for 5 years which is affecting the performance of its productive system. 

According to USDA data, the country should import a total stock of 2.2 million tonnes of wheat (hard and soft) in 2023/2024 to meet its consumption which averages around 3 million tonnes per year. year.

However, recently, Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries unveiled a new development strategy that aims to increase the area devoted to cereal growing to 1.2 million hectares by 2035 against an average area of less than 900,000 hectares currently.

The move is in line with the government’s strategy to boost cereal production in a push to halt imports by 2035.

In detail, the ministry noted that wheat should occupy an area of 650,000 hectares, including 500,000 hectares for durum wheat and 100,000 hectares for soft wheat, against a current five-year average of 537,000 hectares.

As Tunisia prepares to boost production, the country’s Cereals Office (OC) recently invested 13 million dinars (US$4.3 million) to implement a project aimed at increasing its cereal storage capacity in the city of Bizerte.

According to information relayed by the local daily African manager, this new initiative should make it possible to increase the storage capacity of the silo operated by the OC in the port of Bizerte to 30,000 tonnes, against a current level of only 13,000 tonnes.

On the French side, this approach is part of a strategy aimed at delivering 9.5 million tonnes of soft wheat outside the European Union by the end of the 2023/2024 campaign.

According to Alexandre Marie, chief analyst for Agritel (Argus Media France) who spoke last September, the country also plans to ship 4.3 million tonnes of the commodity to Algeria and Morocco in 2023 /2024.