Tunisia: ASTI–IRESA Country Factsheet
Gert-Jan Stads, Aniss Ben Rayana, Jamel Berrbeh, Ahlem Laroussi, and Raed Badwan
International Food Policy Research Institute and Agricultural Research and Higher Education Institution.
The total number of agricultural researchers in Tunisia has grown rapidly in recent years, predominantly due to the establishment of four new regional research centers under the country’s overarching agricultural R&D entity, IRESA, and an influx of BSc-qualified researchers at IRA, one of the institutes under the IRESA umbrella.
Total agricultural research spending has not kept pace with high rates of inflation and rapid agricultural output growth over time; as a result, Tunisia’s agricultural research intensity ratio fell by half during 2002–2012.
Tunisia’s agricultural researchers are among the most highly qualified in West Asia and North Africa (in terms of degree levels), but half the researchers with PhD degrees were in their fifties or sixties as of 2012, and hence are approaching retirement age.
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie(INRAT)
Please note: this page contained older contact information for this agency. Please visit our new Agencies database
Tunisia: ASTI–IRESA Country Brief
Stads, Gert-Jan; Allani, Samira; Hedri, Mohamed Mounir
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and National Agricultural Research Institute of Tunisia (IRESA)
Tunisia’s agricultural research system underwent important reforms over the past decade, facilitated by the national government’s commitment to the agricultural sector and important World Bank-support agricultural research and extension projects. After a period of stagnation due to a recruitment freeze, total agricultural researcher numbers steadily increased from 1996 until 2002. Expenditures in agricultural research evolved more irregularly—hitting a slump in 1998— due to fluctuations in government and donor funding and particularly the completion of the first World Bank-supported project in 1997. Expenditures rebounded to $68 million by 2002
(in 2000 constant prices) with additional government funding focusing on regional development in particular.
Agricultural research in Tunisia is largely funded by the national government. In addition, the World Bank has provided loans for three consecutive projects, the first beginning in 1990 and the most recent scheduled to run until at least 2006. IRESA, the agency that oversees the majority of the country’s agricultural research, was established under the first project. Regional branches were also established to coordinate and evaluate regional agricultural research and extension in support of farmer needs. Subsequent projects have continued to focus on developing regional capacity by building linkages with producers and meeting farmer needs for information, extension, and training. Competitive funding mechanisms for specific project have recently been introduced, though it is too soon as yet to report on their effects.
Overall Tunisia has outperformed its Maghreb counterpart, Morocco, and many Sub-Saharan African countries in several key indicators in recent years. These include total agricultural spending as a share of agricultural output, shares of female researchers, and shares of postgraduate-qualified researchers.