The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a sovereign guaranteed loan for €150.5 million (479.78 million dinars) to Tunisia’s Grain Office (French: ODC), to finance imports of soft wheat, durum wheat and barley, representing up to 15 per cent of Tunisia’s annual consumption needs, the EBRD said in a statement Wednesday.
The bank pointed out that “The war on Ukraine has severely impacted the country’s ability to export grains and has led to disruptions in the global grain supply and hikes in global soft commodity prices, which directly impact the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries – some of which are the world’s largest importers of wheat (Tunisia secures two-thirds of its grains annually through imports.”
The Bank mobilized €2 million in technical assistance grants to support the preparation and implementation of a Sector and Corporate Roadmap reform, in accordance with the Tunisian state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform agenda, the EBRD added.
“The objectives of the roadmap are to implement an action plan prepared by experts and involving relevant stakeholders to address current structural weaknesses of the grain sector, which will lead to a progressive liberalization of grain imports; and to guide ODC’s reform towards its commercialization, with improvements to operational efficiency and corporate governance standards.”
ODC is a state-owned company, under the supervision of Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture. It is in charge of international and national procurement, storage, sales and distribution of wheat in Tunisia.
Since the start of its operations in Tunisia in 2012, the EBRD has invested more than €1.5 billion across 59 projects in the country, in both the private and public sectors.