Impact of the food safety policies on the reduction of poverty in Tunisian rural areas
The observed trend of decreasing poverty in Tunisian rural areas, where agriculture is still dominated by family and where illiteracy rate and family size are high, questions may be raised about the economic policies adopted by the state. This article puts the analyses of these policies in the framework of food safety issue as food and poverty are tightly related and as food safety objective is multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary. In economic development plans, food safety objective took the place of self-sufficiency. The analysis of food safety policy is based on a macro-economic analysis of the offer (policies of production pricing and subsidizing, investment policies) and demand (Policies of consumption subsidies and consumer prices) as well as the policies of fight against poverty. This analysis covers two periods: before and after the economic reforms of privatization and liberalization of 1987 (PAS: Structural Adjustment Plan). The assessment of these policies shows that poverty fighting programs are numerous and rich in experiences. These policies are more and more based on assistance programs oriented toward productive actions. The liberalization and privatization efforts were reflected by better performance and competitiveness of the agricultural sector. This had a positive impact on the employment, the migration and the availability of food products in rural areas. The self targeting of the subsidies by differentiating the products reduced the budgetary cost of these transfers and enhanced the equity and the nutritional and food situation of the poor people. The higher increase in income of country people and the decrease of subsidies indicate the more and more use of income direct transfers.
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