Lack of foreign currency contributes to the shortage of basic products (Smiar Report)


Despite Tunisia’s significant reliance on food imports, fluctuations in international prices of essential commodities like wheat and vegetable oils do not notably impact local prices, thanks to the crucial role of the government’s food subsidy system.

A report from the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) under the FAO, which consistently monitors global food supply and demand, supports this claim. The report notes ongoing discussions about reforms to the subsidy system, which has been a significant burden on the country’s budget. However, the implementation of these reforms has been delayed. Complications in securing external financing have limited the availability of foreign currencies for funding food imports, resulting in shortages of essential products despite the decrease in international prices of food raw materials, as outlined in the Smiar report.

The report underscores that as of October 2023, the general consumer price index registered an 8.6% increase on an annual basis, marking a decline for the eighth consecutive month compared to the peak of 10.4% recorded in February 2023. Year-on-year food price inflation dropped from its peak of 15.9% in May 2023 to 13.1% in October 2023. Notably, in October 2023, key price hikes were observed in coffee (+35%), sheep meat (+30%), edible oils (+28%), and eggs (+20%).

Established in response to the food crises of the early 1970s, the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) continually monitors the global food supply and demand situation. By providing assessments and reports, GIEWS alerts national and international decision-makers to potential food crises, aiming to guide their interventions. It serves as the primary source of information on food production and security at national, regional, and global levels.


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