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Tunisia expects five percent growth of farming sector. -  18/04/2011 

Tunisia is expecting a 5% growth in agricultural sector this year, if good weather conditions continue, said Agriculture and Environment Minister Mokhtar Jellali.

This result will generate new job and exports opportunities, on the one hand, and reduce imports, on the other.

During a news conference held Monday in Tunis to introduce the Interim Government's economic and social programme, the Minister also said that stocks of cereal available will cover the national needs to next July, adding that next harvests will help bring down Tunisia's imports of some varieties of cereal.

The Minister also added that exports of food products posted a 12% growth in the first quarter of 2011 for a value of over 450 million dinars, compared to the same period of 2010.

According to Mr. Jellali, this growth is the result, despite the fall recorded by olive oil and citrus fruits exports, of the increase in revenues of fresh sea products (+49%), sales of vegetables (+46%) and exports of nearly 10,000 tons of potatoes and 5,360 tons of fresh tomatoes.

The Minister said the economic and social programme of the Interim Government aims to materialise some objectives immediately and start implementation of priority measures relating to the short-term programme on employment which is one of the requirements of the Revolution and regional development which suffered from imbalance for decades.

Regarding employment, Mr. Jellali said the aim is to create 9,000 new jobs, employ 189 university graduates from needy families and implement an additional programme to consolidate temporary sites in 8 governorates.

The point, he also said, is to create 750,000 days of additional work, with an amount of 10 million dinars, regularise the situation of staff and make them benefit of the minimum guaranteed agricultural wage.

The Minister added that lands appropriated by relatives and family of the deposed President have been retrieved.