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Wheat and food security perspectives in Tunisia

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Presentation by Dr. Halim Ben Salah (INRAT, Tunisia) at Wheat for Food Security in Africa conference, Oct 9, 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Presentation by Dr. Halim Ben Salah (INRAT, Tunisia) at Wheat for Food Security in Africa conference, Oct 9, 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


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  • 1. Wheat and food security perspectives in TunisiaM.S Gharbi* & H. Ben SalahField Crop Laboratory, National Institute Of Agriculture Research, Tunisia*gahrbi.wheatpro@gmail.com INRAT
  • 2. Wheat is an essential food source - 54 % calories - 64% daily protein intake
  • 3. General dataPopulation: 11 millionsArable land: 4.5 millions haArea grown to cereals: 1.5 million haAmong the highest per capita wheat consumptionrate: ~200 kgTunisia produces: 20% BW needs 75 % DW needs
  • 4. Agro-ecological zones
  • 5. Relative importance of major cereal cropsAll cereals 1.5 millions Ha(30 % of the arable land) BA 0.55 m ha DW (37%) 0.8 m ha BW (53%) 0.14 m ha (10%)
  • 6. WHEAT: Mainly DW country BW 15% DW 85%
  • 7. Pre-semi dwarf era DW production (Million qx)6543210 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 BW Production (Million qx)543210 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960
  • 8. Link to the Green revolution First Mexican BW introductions 1965 through FAO. 3rd ISWYN in 1966. Dr. N. Borlaug visits: 1966 and 1968. First CIMMYT semi-dwarf BWs in large scale cultivation 40% yield increase compaired to traditional varieties. Tunisia-USAID-FF-CIMMYT ‘’Projet Blé’’ 1968-1972. (BW + DW) CIMMYT DW& BW germplasm without interruption since 1966. ICARDA starting from 1980
  • 9. 0 5 10 20 25 15 10 19 20 19 30 19 40 19 50 19Jori 60 19Stork 70 19B. B=Stk’S’ R² = 0.396Karim 80 19Raz y = 0.2305x - 8.7443 90 19 DW yield qx/ha (1910-2011)KhiarOMR 00 20Nasr 9 20 10 20 11 20Maali 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 1910 1920 1930 Yield increasesAriana 66 1940Sonora63 + Tobari 1950Inia 66+ Jaral66Soltane 72 1960Carthage 74 1970Dougga 74 1980Tanit 80 R² = 0.3164Salammbô 80 1990 y = 0.2738x - 8.991 BW yield qx/ha (1910-2011)Byrsa 87/ Vaga 92 2000Utique96/ Haidra 2008 2010 2011
  • 10. D . W. KARIM RAZZAK KHIAR OMRABI NASR MAALI SALIMORIGIN CIMMYT TUNISIA CIMMYT ICARDA ICARDA/TU TUNISIA TUNISIARELEASED 1980 1987 1992 1996 2004 2007 2009 EIGHT YEARS (2004-2011) AVERAGE YIELD in BejaYIELD (%Kar) 4.31 4.21 4.33 4.66 5.01 5.45 5.47 (100) (98) (100.5) (108) (116.3) (126.5) (126.8) THE PLANTEARLINESS EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLYHIGHT SHORT SHORT SHORT MID TALL MID TALL MID TALL SHORT THE GRAINSP. WEIGHT HIGH HIGH MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM HIGH HIGHPROTEIN.C MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUMYELLOW .I LOW MEDIUM HIGH HIGHT LOW MEDIUM MEDIUMGLUTEN LOW HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH RESISTANCE/TOLERANCE TO STRESSESSEPTORIA SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE RESISTANT INTERMEDIATE RESISTANTL. RUST SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE SUCEPTIBLE INTERMEDIATE RESISTANTY.RUST RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT SUCEPTIBLE RESISTANT INTERMEDIATE RESISTANTDROUGHT SUCEPTIBLE TOLERANT SUCEPTIBLE TOLERANT SUCEPTIBLE TOLERANT SUCEPTIBLE
  • 11. Bread Wheat SALAMMBO BYRSA VAGA UTIQUE HAIDRA TAHENT CIMMYT CIMMYT CIMMYT CIMMYT TUNISIA CIMMYTORIGINRELEASED 1980 1987 1992 1996 2004 2009 FOUR YEARS (2006-2007-2010-2011) AVERAGE YIELD in BejaYIELD (%Utique) 43.5 - - 53.1 52.8 54.5 (82%) (100 %) (99.5%) (105.6%) THE PLANTEARLINESS EARLY MID LATE EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLYHIGHT SEMI DWARF SEMI DWARF SEMI DWARF SEMI DWARF SEMI DWARF SEMI DWARF THE GRAINGluten Strength MEDIUM HIGH MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM HIGH RESISTANCE/TOLERANCE TO STRESSESSEPTORIA RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANTL. RUST RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT SUCEPTIBLE RESISTANTY.RUST RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANT RESISTANTDROUGHT TOLERANT SUCEPTIBLE TOLERANT TOLERANT TOLERANT TOLERANT
  • 12. Wheat (DW+BW) production million qx 25 20 15 10 5 0 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 200 201 201 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 01 518 DW production (Millions qx) 4.5 BW production (millions qx)16 414 3.512 310 2.5 8 2 6 1.5 4 1 2 0.5 0 0 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 00 08 10 11
  • 13. Wheat production (million qx)252015 DW BW10 Total 5 0 2001 2005 2010 Wheat imports (million qx)1816141210 DW 8 BW 6 Total 4 2 0 2001 2005 2010
  • 14. Constraints to wheat production (1) Limited areaNo possibility for area expansion Abiotic constraints: Mostly semi arid area Drought ( rainfall amount /distribution) and terminal heat stress are major yield limiting factors
  • 15. Constraints to wheat production (2) Biotic constraints:Foliar diseases (Septoria, Leaf rust, Yellow rust, Tan spot)Crown and root diseases (Fusarium sps, nemathodes…)Insects (Hessian fly)
  • 16. Constraints to wheat production (3)Under optimum crop management mainly nitrogen fertilizer andweed controlLimited water resources for irrigation
  • 17. Wheat researchWheat research dates back to the end of the 19thcentury.95 % of the wheat area is grown to semi-dwarfhigh yielding varieties.Strong collaboration with international centers(CIMMYT & ICARDA).
  • 18. Research topicsBreeding: Strong Durum and Bread Wheatbreeding programs (Yield potential, diseaseresistance, drought & heat tolerance, quality).Use of molecular biology tools (Marker AssistedSelection, Double Haploid production…)Crop management: Fertilizer & water useefficiency, disease and weed control, conservationagriculture.Conservation of biodiversity:New Gene bank
  • 19. PROSPECTS AND NEEDED ACTIONS FOR ACHIVING FOOD SECURITY (1) Increasing demand for wheat grain Limited scope for area increase Increasing yield is therefore a must to Tunisian cerealsectorSignificant yield gap still exist in all productionenvironments.Improved crop management is the main source of yieldand production gains.
  • 20. PROSPECTS AND NEEDED ACTIONS FOR ACHIVING FOOD SECURITY (2) Breeding new high yielding varieties withimproved drought and heat tolerance will helpvalorize better input use Adoption of new production technologiessuch as conservation agriculture will surelyhelp preserve natural and input resources.Use of new biotechnology tools (MarkerAssisted Selection, Double Haploid etc…) canaccelerate new germplasm development.