War in Ukraine and Food Insecurity in Tunisia: Where is reform most needed?

Since February 2022, food insecurity due to the war in Ukraine has become a key issue of public debate in Tunisia, shedding light on the country’s food dependence, given that it imports more than half of its needs. This alarming figure exacerbates people’s concerns, and rightly so, because the annual crop yields do not enable the country to cope with a sudden interruption of food imports. The agricultural production model is not free of contradictions. For instance, it does not take into account demographic changes that occurred between 1984 and 2014 (GPHC 2014). Despite the growing needs of a population that increased from 7 to 11 million during this period, the surface area of ​​lands allocated to cereal production since 1984 has not significantly changed.1Based on NIS data in 2016, published in the Analysis of the Cereals Sector in Tunisia and Identification of Key Areas of Dysfunction Leading to Losses, Raoudha Khaldi. The Tunisian government instead chose to increase cereal imports and gradually withdraw from harvesting in favor of private developers.2Law No. 2005-60 of July 18, 2005 Amending and Supplementing Law No. 91-64 of July 29, 1991 on Competition and Prices. The crisis caused by the war in Ukraine is a drawn-out event with long-term consequences. It cannot be isolated from the crises and shortages that have occurred in Tunisia in the past.3These events include the bread riot of 1984 or the previous series of droughts and plagues that led to the deterioration of the agricultural sector from 1815, Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, Habib Ayeb and Ray Bush. The country’s current food insecurity stems from the agricultural, economic and social policies introduced by successive governments since independence and which are directly related to global food systems. They face two temporal contradictions: the urgency … Continue reading War in Ukraine and Food Insecurity in Tunisia: Where is reform most needed?