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Success through agriculture in Tunisia

Oeurfeli produces his own mozzarella.

Success through agriculture in Tunisia

Oeurfeli is convinced of the agricultural potential that his home country has to offer. This young Tunisian produces mozzarella and honey, and also wants to grow quinoa in the future. The Agripreneur 3.0 project run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH helped him to build up his business.

Agripreneur 3.0 aims to motivate young people from rural areas of Tunisia to become agricultural entrepreneurs. Many of the country’s younger generation often see agriculture as too traditional and unattractive, a perception which this project is trying to change. Even when it was first founded, the first version of Agripreneur helped more than 280 young Tunisians – people like Oeurfeli.

Now a farmer, he comes from Sers in Kef Governorate, and spent two years living in Saudi Arabia. While he was there, one day he asked himself why he wasn’t facing the challenges in his own country rather than facing the day-to-day challenges of life abroad. “My home region in the north-west of Tunisia has great potential for agriculture. Its climate is ideal for producing dairy products, but not enough is made from the milk”, says the young man, who has a bachelor's degree in natural sciences and horticulture. He came up with the idea of producing mozzarella and selling it to nearby restaurants. His business concept also includes producing honey and quinoa, and he intends to export certain products in the future.

The Agripreneur 3.0 project helped him to put his ideas into practice. Like many other participants, Oeurfeli benefited from informative market research, coaching sessions, and a network that includes a number of aspiring producers. Support from Agripreneur 3.0 also enabled him to present his ideas to investors, who gave him a lot of encouragement. “That was a brilliant opportunity to launch my own project.”

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Oeurfeli started off with a small business, but then gradually increased his output and invested in a cold room and aluminium barrels. He can now process up to 500 litres of milk a day instead of 50 litres when he first started out. This involves him cooperating closely with dairy inspectors. “The most difficult thing was gaining the trust of my customers. I was able to use tastings and quality testing to convince them”, states the young entrepreneur. He uses the adjoining apiary, which so far has 13 beehives, to produce honey and some by-products of beekeeping. “You do gradually get to where you want to be”, says the founder, “but it takes a lot of effort. You can’t achieve anything without dedication and hard work.”

Date: 07/2021

You do gradually get to where you want to be, but it takes a lot of effort. You can’t achieve anything without dedication and hard work.

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