Journal of new sciences

F Chemak, H Mazhoud, H Abelhafidh, L Albouchi, Y Snoussi
Agriculture and Biotechnology   unpublished
Within the context of climate change and increasing water scarcity, the development of irrigated agriculture is required as main lever in order to deal with the food challenges. Tunisia is facing an imminent risk of water shortage given that the policy of the water supply reached its limit while the currently water availability is already below the poverty line (450m 3 /capita/year).The irrigated agriculture consumes 80% of the water availability and therefore it remains the main sector that
more » ... ht provide water saving for the other sectors. However, the irrigated activities should achieve optimum yields in order to increase production and to meet the population needs. The irrigated cereal crops which account for only 7% of the total cereal area contributed with 25% of the total cereal production. However, the achieved yields are far from the expected potential level. This reveals a crucial question regarding the productivity and the efficient use of the water resources. In order to deal with this issue, field surveys were carried out among a sample of 120 farmers in the governorates of Beja and Siliana by addressing the farming system during the cropping year of 2013-2014. By using two-step nonparametric approach, the optimal production of the durum wheat crop was estimated in order to assess the importance of the production deviation and to identify possible alternatives for improvement. The results showed that the water productivity is under the expected potential given that the average of the sample productivity reached only 8kgha-1 mm-1. The estimated production frontier suggests that the durum wheat production could be increased by 28% by mastering perfectly the technology process. The results showed also that this improvement is plausible especially among farmers receiving agricultural training. Moreover, farmers might reach better production among large size plots and by practicing suitable crop rotation.