Securing smallholder (self-)employment in rural areas of Tunisia

Project description

Title: Promotion of Agricultural Economic Development in Tunisia (PEAD)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tunisia
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Ressources Hydrauliques et de la Pêche (MARHP)
Overall term: 2020 to 2025



Agriculture plays an important part in Tunisia's economy, offering employment opportunities and generating income for many people in rural regions. However, the structure is defined by numerous microenterprises, often with low productivity. Farmers frequently lack opportunities for professionalising their production, for the strategic alignment of their value chains and for the effective management of their farms. The fragmentation of farmland, widespread ageing of the producers and problems related to climate change pose major challenges that increasingly call the profitability of farms into question. 

Other problems for the farms include gaining access to new sales markets and obtaining financing for the introduction of technical and business management innovations. Better cooperation between the farmers could help them overcome these obstacles. At around five per cent, only very few operations are currently organised in farmers’ organisations and business associations such as cooperatives. Good collaboration between farmers is however important for continued growth and to create new jobs in the regions.


Employment and income in small and medium-sized farms as well as cooperation in farmers’ organisations are improved.



The project operates in four fields of action:

Agricultural entrepreneurship:

In a first step, agricultural producers are provided with continuing education and training in the areas of business management and administration as well as the strategic alignment of the farms. The project works closely with external consultants and trainers who promote entrepreneurial expertise and sustainability with the help of a package of proven training formats such as the “Farmer Business School” (FBS).

Promoting collaborative and cooperative business models:

The project strengthens and promotes collaborative and cooperative business models between producers and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in processing and the retail sector. Business models play a central role in solving the structural problems of smallholder farming. The project also helps cooperatives improve their services and access new markets, strengthening the value chains. Cooperatives are selected in a competition, with key selection criteria including market potential and the ecological impact.

Agricultural finance:

In the next step, the project informs cooperatives and MSMEs about appropriate financing options and how to apply for them. It develops financing instruments and assists cooperatives with the application process through specific training.

Promoting the support structures:

Finally, the project develops options for the assistance of farmers’ organisations and MSMEs through government and non-governmental support structures. It advises the general directorates of the Ministry of Agriculture to offer targeted services with which smallholder farmers can develop their skills and organize themselves in solidarity-based economic enterprises.


Last update: January 2023

Additional information