Minister of Agriculture, Mohamed Ben Salem announced, Monday, that his department has revised upwards the growth rate of the agricultural sector expected this year, assuming a rate of 5.6% instead 2.9 %.
This revision is based, according to the minister, on indicators related to the grain crop, which will reach this year, according to preliminary estimates, 25 million quintals against 23 million quintals during the previous season.
The supplementary budget for 2012 has predicted less quantities of grain to be harvested during the current campaign, namely about 19 million quintals.
At a plenary session of the Constituent Assembly on the agricultural sector held Monday, Mr. Ben Salem said that this improvement in indicators will have “a positive impact on the national economy and contribute to an increased rate of growth for the whole year.”
In his speech before Constituent Assembly members, he noted that Tunisia is witnessing a “good agricultural year.”
The offer is much higher than the last three years (2009, 2010 and 2011), he said, considering that the rise in prices of several agricultural products is due to the phenomenon of “anarchic export” which has amplified.
He noted, on the other hand, that the government has intensified controls over distribution channels and enhanced efforts to organize national campaigns to control prices, which actually helped lower prices during this month.
The minister, however, warned against “falling prices.”
This fall may have a negative impact on farmers’ incomes and can cause a waiver of certain crops in the coming seasons, says Mr. Ben Salem.
He called the state to intervene in the event of a fall or dramatic increase in prices, in order to preserve the sector’s productivity and the purchasing power of citizens.
The Minister of Agriculture also raised the issue of importation of seeds, calling for the need to produce them in Tunisia to avoid dependence on foreign countries and to rely more on the local potential.