The ‘Red Meat Value Chain’ project works in Tunisia to eliminate feed gaps and help farming communities adapt to drought. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the initiative promotes practical, cost-effective technologies that help enhance the sustainable supply of nutritious feed and forage, including: feed block manufacturing units; processed cactus; fast-track seed multiplication and dissemination strategies; and improved quality forage through the production of silage.
It also strengthens the organizational capacity of farmer associations, enhances the performance of Tunisia’s extension services, and supports the development of small enterprises, particularly those that promote the involvement of youth and women.
The initiative is guided by three main objectives:
Objective 1: Increased and sustained income for smallholders through the creation of enterprises that alleviate feed shortages and mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts.
Objective 2: More employment opportunities for youth and women by encouraging their participation in the agricultural sectors and through the creation of small enterprises.
Objective 3: Increased capacity development and partnerships through the training of farmer associations and small enterprises by agricultural extension.
Eliminating feed gaps
Tunisia’s livestock sector is an important contributor to the national economy – and the selling of red meat is one of the main income-generating activities in rural areas. Unfortunately, feed shortages are a major constraint on production – leading to low or moderate performance and high rates of abortion and death.
Despite feeding costs constituting more than 60% of the total cost of meat or milk production, forage production is highly sensitive to rainfall and remains limited. Feed is therefore mainly imported – a situation that is further exacerbated by recurrent droughts and associated climate variability. Since the 2011 revolution, livestock farmers have also faced increasing production costs and price fluctuations which directly affect their livelihoods.
To reverse this situation and enhance the adoption of new technologies, the initiative has established two innovation platforms that bring together different stakeholders to share experiences, knowledge, skills, research and other ideas to solve problems and seize opportunities of common interest.
- Seed multiplication undertaken by 42 farmers who produced some 200 tons of forage seed
- An updated national strategy of forage and pasture seed production
- An upgraded forage and pasture seeds processing unit
- Development of 4 private micro-enterprises producing feed blocks using newly designed semi-automatic machines
- The manufacture and distribution of 29 cactus choppers to poor communities
- Over 1500 farming families reached.