Tunis/Tunisia — A technical support agreement on developing an action plan intended to upgrade irrigated fields and increase agricultural products was signed Tuesday by the Director General of Rural Engineering and Water Operations at the Agriculture Ministry and the representative of the BRL Ingénierie (BRLi) consulting firm.
The signing ceremony was attended by acting Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Mohamed Fadhel Kraiem and the representative of the World Bank. It is held as part of the World Bank-funded Project of Increasing Irrigated Agriculture in Tunisia (French: PIAIT).
The project seeks to rehabilitate and upgrade the infrastructure of irrigated areas and consolidate the various stages of crops as well as their post-Production stages namely marketing, storage, processing, export… and value chains.
Kraiem stressed the importance of the agreement in devising a participatory action plan which would help increase the output of irrigated fields in the governorates of Beja, Bizerte, Jendouba, and Siliana as well as facilitate the marketing of the agricultural crops grown in there.
The Minister called for providing support to technological start-ups and promoting technological solutions which would help overcome the challenges facing the agricultural sector.
He also called for meeting deadlines for the completion of the scheduled projects so as to boost regional development in the targeted areas.
PIAIT is funded by the World Bank at an estimated cost of $140 million over 5 year-period from 2019-2024.
More particularly, the project aims to modernise the physical infrastructure, strengthen management capacity of irrigation services, support the development of agricultural output and access to the market in public irrigated perimeters (PPI) distributed particularly in four Governorates in northwestern Tunisia (Béja, Bizerte, Jendouba, and Siliana) with targeted interventions in two coastal areas: Sfax and Nabeul.
The project will directly benefit about 4,000 farmers who will have access to new or improved irrigation and drainage services. They will also receive technical assistance for agricultural intensification and market access.