Do you remember the Focus Group established in Tunisia? Some weeks after the first meeting held on with some of the main participants, it was the time for additional discussions with more Focus Group members!
Between the 9th and 10th of November, our Tunisian partners organised a series of interesting visits with a twofold aim: to inform on the project’s objectives and Focus groups activities and to shed light on the current state of the local agro-food supply-chain. Both Dr. Fatma Trabelsi and Pr. Mondher Mejri had the opportunity to meet key stakeholders, who expressed their interest to join the Tunisian Focus Group.
The first of these meetings was with Pr. Khemais Zayani, Director of the Agency for Agricultural Extension and Training (AVFA) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic resources and Fishery. The introductory presentation of the MED Food TTHubs project provide by Dr. Trabelsi was only a start to a fruitful discussion. The participants expressed their interest in project’s activities, while the importance of the Focus Group and its expected role were thoroughly explained as well. Besides that, networking opportunities were also explored! Pr. Zayani provided Tunisian partners with information and contact details of territorial extension services (CTV) in Beja and Siliana Governorates. These agents will further support our activities at a later stage of the project, by establishing communication channels with local farmers and facilitating the selection of participants to the project’s pilots, where the MED Food TTHubs e-platform will be tested and evaluated.
During the second meeting, Dr. Trabelsi met with Dr. Faten Khammessi, a researcher in agro-economy at the National Institute of Tunis (Tunisia) and Director of the international cooperation at the Institution of Agronomic Research and Higher Education (IRESA). After introducing the Med Food TTHubs project, the discussion focused on the project’s traceability approach and the important role of the Focus Group and its contribution on the related activities.
Another interesting meeting was held on by Pr. Mondher Mejri, who had the opportunity to meet Mr. Faouzi Djebbi, President of the association «Festival Karmous Djebba» as well as President of the Mutual Society of Agricultural Services SMSA Djebba Fruits (Djebba, Beja Governorate). After the short presentation of MED Food TTHubs and its objectives, the discussion focused on SMSA, Festival Karmous Djebba association and their history, while special emphasis was placed on the Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) certification process and related traceability practices. Before he leaves, Pr. Mejri guided around the SMSA production premises, as well as the association’s office, and he was also shown water springs and the irrigation system used in fig agricultural plots.
Finally, the last, but for sure not the least meeting took place at Kesra locality (Siliana Governorate). There, Pr. Mejri met with Mr. Abdessalem Zgueya, President of the SMSA Kouzira. An overview of the Med Food TTHubs project was presented with focus on project’s goals and main activities, while the importance of the Focus Group and its expected role were also explained. In turn, Mr. Zgueya talked about the SMSA’s projects and notably the AOC certification of Kesra figs, which follow the example of Djebba. The discussion focused on the promotion of organic farming and especially of the local products as the main advantage for sustainable development.
After these fruitful meetings, the Tunisian Focus Group got bigger! The participants expressed their interest and willingness to support the MED Food TTHubs project by joining the Focus Group and offering their feedback in the following months.
These meetings were only a promising start to our exciting activities in Tunisia!
Stay tuned for all updates!