COVID-19: Dutch $1 million donation to help small farmers and rural SMEs
20/11/2020 11:12, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- A donation agreement worth $1 million (the equivalent of 2.75 million dinars) was signed Friday between the Tunisian Union of Social Solidarity (UTSS) and World Bank Resident Representative in Tunis Tony Verheijen, in the presence of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Minister Akissa Bahri and Dutch Ambassador to Tunisia Antonius Lansink.

The agreement targets job creation, especially for youth and women, in the agriculture and agri-food, agri-pastoral and forestry sectors by increasing the productivity and resilience of small rural producers and enhancing the competitiveness of professional organisations and SMEs, says the World Bank.

The first tranche of US$1 million will soon be followed by a second tranche of US$3.7 million (equivalent to 10 million dinars) managed by two other executing agencies in addition to the UTSS.

The agreement is part of the TRACE Programme "Tunisian Rural and Agricultural Chains of Employment," through which the World Bank and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are pooling their efforts to support job creation in rural areas, adds the same source, recalling that it is a trust fund of the Government of the Netherlands managed and executed by the World Bank.

TRACE aims to support the spirit of rural entrepreneurship and to assist the professionalisation of rural producers in order to stimulate job creation throughout the rural value chains, particularly downstream of production for the processing, valorisation and marketing of agricultural, craft, agri-pastoral and forestry products.

This donation is a first emergency response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the Tunisian economy to provide immediate support to producer organisations and rural micro, small and medium enterprises in the governorates of Jendouba, Kairouan and Gabes.

Its implementation is delegated to the UTSS, recognised for its knowledge of the field and its work in socio-economic support of rural populations.

It will support the most promising investment projects in terms of job creation, particularly for women and young people, and the impact on the income of rural producers. 

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