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Tunisia union accuses agriculture minister showing 'contempt' for farmers and fishermen

Men load bales of wheat in the back of pickup trucks during the harvest season in the Sidi Thabet region near Ariana north of the capital Tunis on June 13, 2022 [Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]
Men load bales of wheat in the back of pickup trucks during the harvest season in the Sidi Thabet region near Ariana north of the capital Tunis on June 13, 2022 [Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishing (GFAR) yesterday accused the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fishing, Dr. Muhammad Hamzeh, of manipulating the livelihood of farmers and fishermen to settle personal scores with the Union.

In a statement issued by the Union after the minister failed to attend a national symposium it had organised on Wednesday to discuss the marine fishing sector and address problems facing Tunisian fishermen.

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GFAR announced the holding of an urgent meeting for its executive office to decide how to respond to the minister's action, which it said was an act of "contempt for all farmers and fishermen who struggle daily in order to continue production and provide food for the people," and who in turn "receive nothing but marginalisation and exclusion from their minister".

It said it held the minister "primarily" responsible for the crisis experienced by the agriculture and fishing sector.

"The Union records with great dissatisfaction the minister of agriculture's refusal to engage in the reform process and his insistence on closing the doors of dialogue with the agricultural organisation in clear disregard for the instructions of the President of the Republic and the Head of Government, who had emphasised in their various meetings with the Union's leadership that the Ministry of Agriculture should be at the service of the farmers and seafarers and in real partnership with their organisation," the statement added.

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