The National Agricultural Bank (BNA) dedicated TND 120 million to bolster the efforts of farmers at the onset of the upcoming season. This will help them purchase seeds and fertilisers, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture Abderraouf Laâjimi said on Thursday.
He emphasised that 60% of these resources are destined to small farmers facing challenges to benefit from funds.
Speaking to reporters as part of an open day organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Fisheries in collaboration with BNA, under the theme “Seasonal Loans for Major Crops in the Governorates of Siliana, Zaghouan, and Kef,” Laâjimi added that the Tunisian Solidarity Bank (BTS) allocated about TND 20 millions to small farmers or through microfinance associations.
The Ministry of Agriculture seeks to achieve strategic goals, mainly increasing grain production and harvesting 12 million quintals of hard wheat, the same source said.
He pointed out that 88,000 hectares of irrigated areas have been dedicated to hard wheat production. Seeds have already been distributed in the irrigated and suitable areas.
He explained that seeds and fertilisers have been made available to the regions, pending the seeding of crops by the end of 2023.
Speaking to TAP, Secretary of State in charge of Water Resources, Ridha Gabouj, stressed the importance of national grain production, “which should decrease the need for imports, and as a result prevent foreign currency depletion.”
Last year’s production level was “very low”. It stood at 5 million quintals, 2.5 million of which were collected, resulting in a shortage of seeds, the same source said.