Marwane Chikhaoui: “The Tunisian Local Produce Contest is off to a big start”

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The 1st Tunisian Local Produce Contest is an event that is finally taking off and its results are highly anticipated for December 8, 2017. Mr. Marwen Chikhaoui is one of the pioneers of this competition on the international cooperation side of the project. PAPMPAT. He explains how this first edition was prepared and organized and reveals the before and during the competition. Interview led by Fedy Abid.

1001tunisie: The first competition of local products is finally held in Tunisia. How did you prepare and organize this first edition?

Marwane Chikhaoui: We did a test in May 2017 to develop the stages of the competition and its logistics. The final implementation of the logistics of this 1 st National Competition began last August. This required a lot of resources and especially human resources. Fortunately, we have very good managers in the Tunisian administration.

By cons and unfortunately, for the moment, we do not yet have associations in the Organizing Committee but it will open little by little in the next editions. The competition has started to grow in size and will necessarily need more staff participating in the steering committee.

This first edition of the contest has the participation of 272 products. How were they selected?

We have launched registration forms with all Tunisian producers since August 2017 with a deadline of 30 September 2017. We received in the 350 products.

Following this, a selection was made because the products participating in the Contest must comply with a number of rules. I give you some examples, the product must be 80% local product. We are not talking about imported products or products that are not on the market. Here we only receive products that are approved by the commission.

Of the 350 products, we selected 272 products.

A significant number of tasters participate in this contest. How were they selected and under what criteria?

We proceeded as follows: We need three profiles per table; a producer, a consumer and a specialist.

We have launched calls for applications from everyone since everyone is a consumer. In addition, we have launched calls for applications from university professors, specialists, chefs, … We tried to publicize this as much as possible.

Producers participate in the contest with their products. They also take part in the tasting as a jury. How can they both participate and decide?

The specificity of the contest is that the producer does not eat his product under any circumstances. Everything is managed with software and everything is codified. Many people have been unhappy because they have not been selected to be a taster, and I take the opportunity to apologize, but that’s the rule of the game!

I can not put that three profiles not table. Today, there are only 33 tables in the entire contest, the first day 19 tables and the second day 14. And it is very difficult to ensure that the producer is himself a taster and to apply the regulation which notes that it must not taste its product. Everything must be mixed using the computer software that ensures that this rule is perfectly applied.

How are the prices going to be distributed?

Only 30% of products will have prices. The tasters must note the product according to tasting schemes that have been developed with leading Tunisian specialists. If the product receives a score of 17, it receives a bronze medal, 18 points is a silver medal, and those who will be 19 and 20 will be decorated with a gold medal.

Subsequently, we collect all products that have won the gold medal, whatever their category. And from there, we leave for a new tasting and vote for the best product that will be the prize of excellence.

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