Creation of farmers' markets in Tunisia alternative way to promote fairer and more sustainable food system
06/03/2023 19:56, TUNIS/Tunisia
(TAP/ Meriem Khadraoui)- The creation of farmers' markets in Tunisia is an alternative way to promote a fairer and more sustainable food system. The Italian experience in this field can be replicated in the country, says Carmelo Troccoli, Secretary General of the World Farmers Market Coalition (WFMC), an alliance of farmers created shortly after the COVID-19 crisis to promote and support farmers' markets worldwide.

The coalition, whose presence is growing with more than 40 representatives around the world, is ready to assist in the establishment of a farmers' market system in Tunisia, according to Troccoli.

This will require the intervention of an intermediary in charge of coordinating and contacting farmers, identifying and networking small farmers, and drawing up rules or specifications for these markets and the spaces they will occupy, the official pointed out.

"All the factors are in place in Tunisia to create this network of markets, which will encourage a direct link between producers and consumers, promote a healthier consumption system through the sale of fresh products and help farmers to improve their incomes without abandoning their farms and crops in the countryside," said Troccoli.

He was speaking at a lecture on “the role of farmers’ markets in guaranteeing a local food system,” given on Sunday in Chbedda (Ben Arous - southern suburb of Tunis).
Invited by the Tunisian Association of Permaculture (ATP) on the first edition of the "we eat Tunisian" festival, the Secretary General of the WFMC talked about the Italian experience of selling agricultural and local products through a strong network of farmers' markets.

"After the pandemic, we developed a network of 1,200 farmers' markets under the label 'Campagna Amica' (Friendly Campaign), an Italian foundation set up in 2008 to defend the value and dignity of Italian agriculture. The turnover of these markets is now estimated at 4 billion euros a year," he said.

The aim is "not to create a parallel food system, but rather to make the current food system fairer and more sustainable and to give small farmers the opportunity to sell their products at fair prices without the intervention of intermediaries".

Carmelo Troccoli said with the issue of food security back in the international spotlight after the pandemic, farmers' markets are an alternative to better stabilise farm incomes and conventional distribution channels, and to ensure a fair income for small farmers by promoting healthy agriculture that preserves biodiversity, respects seasonality and has a low environmental impact.

"Farmers' markets can also help to revitalise local and rural economies and provide a deeper perspective on community-supported agriculture," according to a first report published by the coalition in 2022, the First World Farmers Markets Report. The first edition of the "we eat Tunisian” festival, dedicated to food sovereignty, farmers' seeds and Tunisian culinary traditions, took place on March 4 and 5, 2023 at the Rural Women's Training Centre in Chbedda.

This festival, supported by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) under its "we eat Africa” initiative, featured an exhibition and sale of local products.
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