Global grain production forecast revised downwards, consumption up (ONAGRI)

Tunis: The International Grains Council (ICC) has revised downwards its forecast for world grain production for the next 2024/25 campaign to 2,301 million tonnes, due to the drought affecting several producer countries, the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI) reported in its bulletin. On the other hand, ONAGRI reported an increase in world grain consumption to 3 million tonnes more than previously forecast, due to increased use of wheat and corn for feed production. The Observatory also noted that forecasts for world grain stocks would be revised downwards to no more than 591 million tonnes, the lowest level in 9 years. Nationally, 972,000 hectares have been sown so far, representing 81% of the total area (1,196,000 hectares) allocated to field crops for the 2023/2024 marketing year, of which 812,000 hectares are in the north of the country, while the rest (around 160,000 hectares) are in the centre and south of the country, ONAGRI said. It added that 576,000 hectares are earmarked for durum whea t, 24,000 hectares for soft wheat, 363,000 hectares for common wheat. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Net bank loans outstanding rise to TND 13.2 million in Q1 2024

Tunis: Indicators for the 12 banks listed on the Tunis Stock Exchange show an increase in net loans outstanding to customers of these banks in the first three months of 2024, compared with the end of December 2023, to TND 13.2 million, reaching a total of 83.7 billion dinars, according to estimates by financial analyst Bassem Enneifer. In his analysis of the various indicators of bank lending in Tunisia, Enneifer explained that deposits will exceed the threshold of TND 304.1 million in March 2024, bringing outstanding deposits to 99.9 billion dinars. These indicators remain relatively low, he said, due to the offer of banks, which impose draconian conditions for the granting of various types of credit, in addition to the reluctance of companies to apply for loans after having revised their investment plans "downwards". He also noted that banks have increased the volume of funds employed to TND 904.7 million. This indicates their willingness to resort to treasury bills, which offer better guarantees and a b etter financial return. Referring to the results for 2023 provided by the Central Bank of Tunisia, Enneifer pointed out that outstanding loans granted by the banking sector as a whole increased from TND 2,185.3 million to TND 6,848.8 million in 2022, meaning by less than a third. For the analyst, this situation reflects the problematic situation of the Tunisian economy, which is experiencing a high interest rate that has discouraged companies from borrowing and thus partly affected growth, which did not exceed 0.4%. He pointed out that outstanding loans reached TND 2,185.3 million last year, of which 98%, i.e. TND 2,145.1 million, were short-term loans and only TND 40.2 million were long- and medium-term loans. The financial analyst pointed out that these indicators reflect the weakness of private investment in Tunisia, which was partly reflected in the growth rate recorded by the country last year. In his analysis of bank loans granted last year, he noted that the share of short-term loans reached a rec ord level of 59.9% of outstanding loans issued by Tunisian banks, compared with 58.9% in 2022. As for the breakdown of loans granted, Enneifer noted that two sectors accounted for 58% of the loans, namely manufacturing (31.6%) and trade (26.6%). For the other sectors, loans were distributed as follows: tourism 4.9%, agriculture 4.5% (less than TND 4 billion), telecommunications 1.6%, scientific and technical services 1.1%, education 0.4% and health 1.7%. At the end of last year, the public administration's share of these loans reached 3.3%, or TND 2,822 million dinars. Enneifer recommended that promising sectors with high value added should have easier access to funding sources and bank loans, given their social role and ability to create value. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

“Franchise Days @Sousse,” June 6

Tunis: "Franchise Days @Sousse," an event dedicated to the promotion of franchising in the central region of Tunisia, will be held on June 6 in Sousse, at the initiative of "Wefranchiz," a franchise networking platform, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Centre (CCIC) and the regional office of CONECT Sousse. "The event is an opportunity for Tunisian franchise concepts and potential investors to meet and explore fruitful collaboration opportunities," says the CCIC. It will be attended by a number of well-known Tunisian brands specialised in various sectors and wishing to develop their activities using the franchise model. A B2B matchmaking session will be organised to this end. Those interested in establishing cooperative relations with Tunisian franchisers can register via the following link: https://wefranchiz.com/franchise-day-sousse/. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Strong winds expected over most regions Monday (INM)

Tunis: Strong winds with a maximum speed ranging between 60 to 80 km/h are expected over most regions on Monday, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (INM). Winds will temporarily get stronger to 90 km/h in gusts with sand whirlwinds in the south, consequently diminishing horizontal visibility to less than 1000 meters. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Broiler chicken and egg prices down (ONAGRI)

Tunis: The average producer price of eggs for consumption fell by 9.8% in April 2024, compared with the same month the previous year and down by 6.5% compared with March 2024, according to statistics on the poultry sector published in May's National Observatory of Agriculture newsletter "ONAGRI Vigilance." The average producer price for broiler chickens in April 2024 was down by 7.3% compared with the same month in 2023. Compared with March 2024, producer prices were up in April 2024, leading to an average increase in producer prices by 7.1%. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Rainy weather Sunday morning

Tunis: The weather Sunday is very cloudy with local thunder cells and showers in the north in the morning. Temporarily cloudy over most regions in the afternoon, sometimes very cloudy over western regions. Highs range between 25 and 32°C in northern and coastal regions and between 36 and 40°C elsewhere, locally peaking at 42°C in the south. The wind is blowing east in the north and midland and south in the south, relatively strong near eastern coasts and in the south with sometimes sand storms, moderate elsewhere. The sea is rough to locally very rough. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Battan National Stud Farm slated for restoration and inclusion in tourist and cultural circuit (Minister)

Tunis: El Battan National Stud Farm in Manouba governorate, known as El Kechla (former barracks), is slated for restoration and inclusion in a tourist and cultural circuit as part of the "Ciné Trip Tunisia" film route initiative, announced Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts Mohamed Moez Belhassine at the opening of El Battan Chechia festival on Saturday. Launched by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), this initiative aims to promote the filming locations of famous international movies and thereby promote cinema tourism. Managed by the National Foundation for the Improvement of the Horses Breed (FNARC), the Stud Farm was established in a 17th-century Beylik palace, originally built by Uthman Dey, a military commander of Tunis during the Ottoman era. It was subsequently converted into a military barracks under the French protectorate rule. In 1885, it came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and was converted into a horse br eeding centre in 1949. In 1982, the stud farm came under the management of FNARC. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Bidding for Tunisian Chechia to be awarded Controlled Designation of Origin status (Minister of Tourism)

Tunis: The Tunisian chechia, an emblematic headgear of Tunisia's heritage, is eligible for the Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) status, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Mohamed Moez Belhassine said on Saturday at the opening of the second Chechia Festival in El Battane (Manouba governorate). A product that has been awarded Controlled Designation of Origin status, reflects an intimate link between its production and the specific area in which it is produced, all recognised and upheld by skilled men with a high level of know-how. The Ministry of Tourism, through the National Office of Tunisian Handicrafts (ONAT), is seeking to label a total of some 60 craft products, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standardisation and Industrial Property (INNORPI), he added, pointing out that the Sejnane pottery had already been awarded this status in 2023. Priority will now be given to including the ancestral know-how of the chechia on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage, he considered, under lining that his department is also endeavouring to protect this product against counterfeiting. During a visit to the fulling mill at El Battane, the minister announced that an anti-counterfeiting campaign would be launched from June onwards in souks and tourist circuits, in collaboration with the Trade Ministry, insisting that "all offenders will be punished." Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia willing to scale up cooperation with UNDP

Tunis: Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani underscored Tunisia's willingness to scale up cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), at the 1st meeting of the high-level strategic steering committee for the portfolio of projects on administration and good governance, held on Friday, in the presence of UNDP Resident Representative in Tunisia Céline Moyroud. The bilateral cooperation programme is intended as a lever for socio-economic development over the period 2023-2027, according to a Prime Ministry press release issued on Saturday. It aims to restore public confidence in State institutions, identify sectors capable of creating new jobs, guarantee decent living conditions for Tunisians and a propitious and transparent business climate, and achieve the goals of the United Nations' Agenda 2030. As a framework for partnership between the Tunisian government, the UNDP and a number of partners and donors, this new programme is based on an integrated approach aimed at meeting the challenges of so cial and economic development. Hachani also commended the efforts exerted by the team at the UNDP office in Tunisia to scaled up cooperation and establish the pillars of effective administration and good governance in Tunisia. The strategic guidelines for the implementation of the new portfolio for 2024 were examined during the meeting. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia participates in International Forum on “Towards South: European Strategy for New Geopolitical Season in Mediterranean”

Tunis: Tunisia attended the third edition of the International Forum on "Towards the South: European Strategy for a New Geopolitical, Economic and Socio-cultural Season in the Mediterranean" held May 17-18 in Sorrento, Southern Italy. Two hundred participants took part in the event, including ministers of energy, politicians, economic decision-makers and business leaders from over 30 countries. Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Fatma Thabet Chiboub told a workshop held on the sidelines of the forum which addressed the theme of " the New Energy Vision of the South" international oil and gas price instability and insecure supply are the main challenges for energy importers amid international geopolitical conflicts. Tunisia, she said, adopted an energy strategy by 2035 which meets current exigencies and is designed to foster transition from the conventional system of production and consumption towards a sustainable energy model premised on the diversification of clean energy sources, such as Green hydrog en. The strategy revolves around the consolidation of energy efficiency in all sectors, notably transport, to manage energy demand and introduce changes in the consumption behaviour. Chiboub also had a talk with Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab. The talk focused on energy partnership, in particular, and ways to develop cooperation in the sector of mines and fertilisers. This in addition to scaling up trade and technical cooperation and the exchange of experiences and expertise. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse