Agricultural Demonstration Pilot in the North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (SASS) Area

Countries: Tunisia
Level: Local
Region: MENA Region
Tags: Agriculture | Awareness raising | Stakeholder involvement
Target audience: Agricultural authorities | Farmers

The project implemented a pilot operation with irrigated agriculture based on controlled water supply for olive and vegetable crops, working with farmers and local technicians.

The development of a sustainable family-irrigated agriculture (on plots of 1.2 hectares), based on a mixed system of olive and vegetable crop cultivation, efficient water use and desalination of brackish water, created high added value. The project resulted in:

  • Development of a plot plan for appropriate crop rotation;
  • Acquisition of two greenhouses and a drip irrigation system;
  • The acquisition, installation and commissioning of a water desalination plant;
  • Installation of an irrigation network;
  • Construction of a storage basin for desalinated water; and
  • Acquisition and installation of an electric pump to distribute water for irrigation purposes.

Results obtained

  • Tenfold increase in revenue per hectare for olive trees and other crops.
  • Better use of water.
  • Improved soil protection against salinization, which is an alternative solution to over-exploitation of aquifers.

Success factors

  • Strong involvement of farmers and the Tunisian administration.
  • Establishment of a local monitoring committee.
  • Meetings with technical bodies, preparation of discussions, acceptance of follow-up specifications, good record-keeping and making information available to the OSS project.

Indicators used

  • Water productivity (cubic metres per hectare).
  • Water consumption per hectare.

The success of this pilot suggests that farmers in Tunisia’s Djeffara Basin can learn from these successful experiences to produce high volumes of good-quality olives and winter vegetables. This pilot project can be repeated throughout the area of the Djeffara, which is subject to strong overexploitation and salinization risk. Project duplication could also help to secure the population there maintain development in the region.

Total costs

  • EUR 50,000


Djamel Latrach  (OSS)


  • OSS, 2014. Socio-Economic Aspects of Irrigation in the SASS Basin: Better Water Valorisation for Sustainable Management of the Basin. Tunis.
  • OSS, 2014. Pilotes de démonstration agricoles dans le bassin du SASS. Vers une agriculture durable et rentable au Sahara.