In order to further boost the development of the local produce subsector, the Ministry of Agriculture, with the support of the PAMPAT project (UNIDO/SECO), since late 2020 has piloted multi-institutional and participatory work at the national level to lead the elaboration of the first National Strategy for the Enhancement and Promotion of Local Products in Tunisia.
The national action plan covers aspects of production, development and commercialization of local products, territorial marketing and tourism, as well as the institutional structuring of the local products subsector.
The National Strategy for the Enhancement and Promotion of Local Products was presented by the Minister of Agriculture to a hundred representatives from the public and private sector.
This presentation was also marked by the launch of the implementation of this Strategy in two pilot regions, namely Kairouan and Nabeul with the support of the PAMPAT project (UNIDO/SECO).
The strategy is the result of multi-institutional and participatory work at the national level that began in late 2020.
The different stages of drafting the Strategy were managed by a small work team composed of the Directorate-General for Agricultural Production (DGPA) and the Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency (APIA) with the support of the “Project for Access to Agri-food Markets and (PAMPAT)” funded by the Swiss Confederation Secretary of State for the Economy (SECO) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
With the support of the PAMPAT project, the Strategy will be implemented in the pilot regions of Kairouan and Nabeul.
The day was opened by the Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Elyes Hamza who highlighted the impact that the implementation of this Strategy could have on the economic development of the regions. He also recalled that the first inventory of local products in 2016, which made it possible to identify 220 products in the various provinces, revealed the great wealth of local products that Tunisia enjoys. He also highlighted the importance of the first phase of implementation of this Strategy in two pilot regions that the Ministry of Agriculture will initiate with the support of the PAMPAT project.
For his part, during his opening remarks, the Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation in Tunisia, Josef Philipp Renggli, congratulated all interested parties on the efforts made in recent years to promote local Tunisian products and underline the importance of the collaborative work carried out to anchor local products in the regions and stimulate territorial development. He also recalled that the promotion of local products will make it possible to integrate the environmental dimension and promote the development of alternative tourism.
During the day, the various speakers had the opportunity to present all the steps and lines of work that led to the finalization of the Strategy. This national initiative was developed under the supervision of a Steering Committee that was created following decision No. 3781 (2020) of the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.
The Ministry of Agriculture thus initiated a collective approach to preserve, promote and enhance local products in collaboration with various Ministries, namely the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and Crafts, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of of the Environment and Ministry of Local Affairs, as well as with UTAP and UTICA.
Through the elaboration of the Strategy, it is the regional development around local products that is targeted, as well as the positioning of Tunisia as a gourmet tourist destination, rich in traditions and customs. The implementation of this Strategy will thus make it possible to explore all the growth potential that emanates from local products and that goes far beyond the sale of traditional food products. The ultimate objective of promoting local products is the creation of employment, income and, above all, wealth, which results in particular from the creation of related economic activities such as agritourism, cultural festivals, gastronomy and the development of new products transformed from emblematic products. of each region.
The day was also marked by the launch of the implementation of this Strategy in two pilot regions Nabeul and Kairouan with the support of the PAMPAT project (UNIDO/SECO). This phase of implementation on the ground aims to ensure the success and sustainability of the objectives and actions formulated in the National Strategy for the Promotion and Enhancement of Local Products.
In each of the two regions, an ambitious action plan will be implemented that includes several axes to improve production, diversify the range of products and commercialize emblematic products, promote territorial marketing, local gastronomy and alternative tourism, create activities cultural activities around the emblematic products and highlight the products and their regions of origin through targeted communication.
This decisive phase of implementation of the Strategy in the two pilot regions will make it possible to develop a model to be duplicated and followed for the other regions of Tunisia, subject to the necessary adaptations according to the specificities of the emblematic products of each of the regions.
The development of the Strategy is thus considered as the consolidation and culmination of a long set of preliminary actions carried out over the last few years that allowed identifying the contours of the emerging subsector of local products. Thus, for example, several milestones and achievements have been recently achieved from the marketing of local products with a controlled designation of origin and with the 2014 Tunisian Food Quality Seal, the census of local products in each province of the country in 2016, the organization of the Tunisian Competition for Local Products from 2017 and a growing number of territorial marketing initiatives to reach today an integrated and national approach embodied in the Strategy for the Promotion and Enhancement of Local Products.
The action plan of the national strategy for valuing and promoting local products, which was presented, results from a participatory process. Indeed, several workshops were organized in different cities of Tunisia in order to define the aspects and priorities to be considered in order to boost local development around local products. Several public and private structures contributed with their knowledge and ideas for the elaboration of the final document.
The profiles of the representatives who undertook to make their contribution to the development of local products were very varied: farmers’ unions, interprofessional groups in the agri-food sector, professional structures for alternative tourism, employers’ organizations, sectoral producer organizations, microcredits, Tunisian heritage protection structures, e-commerce specialists, delicatessens, online sales, international cooperation agencies, federations of chefs and restaurant owners, as well as structures under the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Tourism , Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment, etc.
The national action plan is divided into four main axes that cover the marketing of local products, territorial marketing and tourism, agricultural production and promotion of local products and the institutional and organizational component for structuring the sub-local products sector.
The benchmark carried out with Morocco and Switzerland also made it possible to identify the priority paths to be adopted for the implementation of the Strategy for valuing and promoting local products in Tunisia in order to achieve the defined objectives.
There are so many challenges that Tunisia is preparing to face today to establish its own development model around local products that highlights its competitive advantages based on the richness, diversity and specificity of the offer of each of its regions. The ambitious program that will be implemented will not fail to create a new economic dynamic in the country based on regional development and the creation of new investment opportunities.