I am delighted to be in Takelsa today to support hard-working Tunisian farmers from across the country. I would like to thank Acting Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Mohamed Fadhel Kraim and AVFA for their partnership in implementing the embassy’s five-million-dollar FARMER program.
The Takelsa Center is an impressive example of farmers and small businesses working together to expand the local economy. The agriculture sector employs hundreds of thousands of Tunisians and drives economic development in interior and rural areas of the country. Our assistance programs currently support more than 2,000 agro-businesses and agriculture cooperatives throughout the country.
These efforts have increased revenues by about $150 million and created more than 8,000 new jobs since 2018.
I would like to recognize bee keeper Dorsaf Amiri, who is with us today. Through this project, Dorsaf has improved her skills in beehive maintenance and honey production, and now she is training 12 others. Mabrouk!
I would like also to express my regard to all the farmers who have demonstrated their resilience during COVID-19. Despite COVID’s effects, Tunisian exports to the United States grew by 20 percent in 2020, largely agricultural exports like olive oil and dates.
We look forward to continued collaboration with the Tunisian government to support farmers and to create more jobs.