In Tunisia, local products are starting to make their way. Tunisian consumers are more and more interested in these products which have specificities related to regions. Several structures have already started implementing support programs to encourage the sector. After the finalization of the first inventory of Tunisian products in October 2016, the Agency for the Promotion of Agricultural Investments (APIA), with the support of several institutions, set to work to launch the organization of the first edition of the competition for local products in Tunisia scheduled for November 2017.
A first step was completed with the running of the blank test of the competition. In order to test the procedure necessary for the establishment of the first Tunisian Contest for Terroir Products, the APIA in collaboration with the General Directorate of Agricultural Production (DGPA), the General Directorate of Organic Agriculture (DGAB), the Directorate General of Agribusiness Industries (DGIA), INNORPI and the Technical Center for Agribusiness (CTAA), organized a blank test. Thanks to a great effort of collaboration between the different institutions concerned, more than one hundred products have registered to participate in the blank test and have been sent to Tunis through the Regional Commissions of Agricultural Development (CRDA) of the different governorates of Tunisia .
The tasting was marked by the participation of more than 70 tasters including consumers, producers and specialists from several governorates of Tunisia. During this day, 101 products belonging to 4 different categories namely olives and olive oils, fruits and aromatic plants, honey and cheese and finally the vegetable category were tasted and tested.
The aim of the tasting is to find a balance between the sensory tasting provided by specialists and the taste of the consumer who represents the market demand. Each product was tested at the tasting table consisting of 3 juror profiles with the support of sensory evaluation schemes.
The organization of this competition is particularly aimed at the development of solidarity farming and the promotion of Tunisian local products with unique qualities, often witnessing long traditions and centuries-old know-how of the local populations.
This contest aims not only to showcase the best local products and promote the image of typical products to consumers, national and international purchasing centers and the media, but also to contribute modernizing the local produce sector by promoting the organization and transition from a traditional sector to a modern sector, while preserving the typicality of local products.
The Tunisian Local Produce Competition, which will be organized in its official version in November 2017, receives the support of the PAMPAT project (Access Project for Markets in Agro-Food and Land Products), implemented by the United Nations. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation (SECO). In Switzerland, the Inter-Jurassic Rural Foundation organizes every two years a contest of local products which served as inspiration for the Tunisian competition model.