TUNISIA – Tunisia is on track to achieve above-average yields in wheat and barley production for the 2024-25 season, driven by favorable winter rainfall and moderate temperatures after a challenging start during planting.

This is according to the latest report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In the April 1 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report, wheat production in Tunisia is forecasted to reach an impressive 1.25 million tonnes for the 2024-25 period.

This marks a substantial increase from the 441,000 tonnes produced in the previous season (2023-24) and is aligned with the 2022-23 estimate of 1.23 million tonnes.

The report highlights that the final wheat yields will heavily hinge on the rainfall in April, which could further boost yields by 10% to 20% if conditions remain favorable.

Despite this significant rise in production, total domestic wheat consumption is expected to only slightly increase to 2.8 million tonnes, reflecting the country’s steady population growth trend of about 2% annually.

The government’s subsidies play a crucial role in ensuring widespread access to wheat products at affordable prices for Tunisia’s approximately 12.5 million people.

The FAS emphasized that wheat subsidies remain a sensitive issue due to the strain they place on the state budget.

 “Tunisia subsidizes wheat consumption, guaranteeing the entire population access to wheat flour, semolina, and bread at prices below market rate,” the FAS reported.

To meet domestic demand and maintain sufficient stock levels, wheat imports for 2024-25 are forecasted at 1.8 million tonnes, while the revised estimate for 2023-24 stands at 2.2 million tonnes due to lower domestic production.

In addition to wheat, Tunisia is experiencing a remarkable rebound in barley production.

The FAS projects barley production to reach 660,000 tonnes for the 2024-25 season, a significant increase from 89,000 tonnes in the previous year.

This surge in barley production can be attributed to wheat seed shortages and dry weather during the planting season, which prompted many farmers to opt for barley cultivation instead.

Barley consumption for 2024-25 is forecasted at 1.08 million tonnes, primarily for feedlots and as supplemental feed.

Importantly, barley imports are anticipated to decrease to 500,000 tonnes in the upcoming season, down from 950,000 tonnes in the previous year, due to the notable increase in domestic production.

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