Analysis of the competitiveness of wheat and orange in Tunisia under water shortage scenarios

  • Ali ChebilEmail author
  • Asma Souissi
  • Bechir Bennouna
  • Aymen Frija
ICWEES2018 & IWFC2018
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Geo-environmental integration for sustainable development of water, energy, environment and society


Increasing water shortage results in higher food prices which may affect the competitiveness of small irrigated farming systems. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of water shortage on the competitiveness of orange and wheat commodities in Tunisia. Stochastic production functions were used to estimate changes in the opportunity cost of water which will be utilized in the calculation of domestic resource cost (DRC). Primary data used for the empirical analysis were collected from 170 wheat and 51 orange farms located in the major irrigated areas of the country. Empirical results indicate that, in the current baseline situation, Tunisia has a comparative advantage in the production of orange but not for wheat production. Results of sensitivity analysis show that the competitiveness in wheat and orange production has been deteriorated due to a decrease in water availability at the farm level. DRC ratio increases from 0.91 to 1.13 for orange, and from 1.24 to 8.27 for wheat with 50% decreases in water availability. However, improving irrigation water use efficiency led to a significant decrease in DRC for both commodities. This finding urges decision-makers to put more efforts to optimize irrigation management at field and farm levels through dissemination of better irrigation scheduling techniques and implementing deficit irrigation strategies especially that the country is under a critical water shortage.


Agricultural commodities Competitiveness Water value Water shortage Deficit irrigation Tunisia 



The authors also wish to thank the staff of the Regional Commissions for Agricultural Development and farmers for their invaluable help.

Funding information

Authors acknowledge the financial support of International Development Research Centre (IDRC) during early process of data collection in the framework of "Virtual water and Food Security in Tunisia project” coordinated by the Higher Agricultural School of Mograne. Authors also wish to thank the staff of the Regional Commissions for Agricultural Development and farmers for their invaluable help.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Chebil
    • 1
    Email author
  • Asma Souissi
    • 2
  • Bechir Bennouna
    • 1
  • Aymen Frija
    • 3
  1. 1.National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry (INRGREF), Rue Hédi KarrayUniversity of CarthageArianaTunisia
  2. 2.Higher Institute of Agronomic Sciences (ISA)Chott-MériemTunisia
  3. 3.International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)TunisTunisia

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