Tunisia – Dairy farmers say they can’t buy fodder as milk disappears from grocery shelves in Tunis
Location: Tunis – Tunisia
Source: A24 in Tunisia
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
Date: 05/09/ 2022
Milk is now on the list of essential food items including flour and sugar that Tunisian shoppers can’t find at local grocery stores.
Markets across Tunisia are witnessing a noticeable shortage of milk as fears grow that the supply will dwindle further.
Director of livestock at the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries, Manwar Al-Saghiri, told A24 that the rise in fodder prices is due to other global crises.
Al-Saghir said global crises affecting fodder prices include Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war, and a drought in southern Europe.
He added that some cattle breeders smuggled cows to Algeria, another reason for the 20-30% decline in milk production.
In an interview with A24, cow breeder Ibrahim Badr said there is no clear government strategy to support his industry. Badr added that high prices of fodder and soaring production costs could lead to a collapse of production.
– Soundbite (Ibrahim Badr – Farmer and cow breeder)
“There will be a lack of milk supply in Tunisia because the number of cows is declining. I am considering leaving this business since there is no profit after paying the costs for the electricity, workers and fodder. The milk crisis is due to the high prices of fodder and lack of clear production strategy. If this situation continues for another two or three years, the milk production system will collapse, especially since farmers sell their cows to Algeria to buy fodder, in addition to the closure of some farms and milk factories. There is no support from the state for farmers.”
– Soundbite (Manwar Al-Saghiri – Director of Animal Production at the Union of Agriculture) –
“There is an issue of loss in the number of cows, as some are smuggled to neighboring countries and some are slaughtered. This has led to a 20-30% decline in production, which will negatively affect the dairy production system in Tunisia. Many crises in the world are affecting the milk crisis including Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine war, drought, all of which have affected prices of fodder. There are also local issues including lack of a national strategy for the development of local fodder resources, which has resulted in a significant rise in production costs. The production cost of one liter of milk is about US$0.50, which the farmer sells for US$0.35, incurring a loss of US$0.14 as a result.”
– Soundbite (Manwar Al-Saghiri – Director of animal production in the Union of Agriculture and Fisheries):
“Tunisia chose food security; providing products even through imported supply, over food sovereignty; self-sufficiency through local produce. Tunisian agriculture can no longer compete with foreign agriculture. It has become very difficult to keep up with global developments and shifts.
– Soundbite (Ibrahim Badr – Farmer and cow breeder):
“I believe agriculture is just a backup safety net. Over the past ten years, agriculture died. Ministers have no knowledge in the field of agriculture. Some of them talk about corruption in production of wheat and barley, but they can not differentiate between the two. The milk production system was established by self-sufficient people, but if things remain the same for the next 3 years, there will be no cows and no milk.”
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