LONDON, ENGLAND — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently signed a sovereign guaranteed loan for €150.5 million to Office des Cereales (ODC), a Tunisian state-owned company, to fund imports of soft wheat, durum wheat and barley, representing up to 15% of Tunisia’s annual consumption needs.  

The EBRD said the Russia-Ukraine war has severely impacted Tunisia’s ability to import grains and has led to disruptions in the global grain supply and hikes in global soft commodity prices, which directly impact the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries — some of which are the world’s largest importers of wheat.

Tunisia secures about two-thirds of its grain annually through imports.

The Bank mobilized €2 million in technical assistance grants to support the preparation and implementation of a Sector and Corporate Roadmap reform in accordance with the Tunisian state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform agenda.

The objectives of the roadmap are to implement an action plan prepared by experts and involving relevant stakeholders to address current structural weaknesses of the grain sector, which will lead to a progressive liberalization of grain imports, and to guide ODC’s reform toward its commercialization, with improvements to operational efficiency and corporate governance standards.

ODC is a state-owned company, under the supervision of Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture. It is in charge of international and national procurement, storage, sales and distribution of wheat in Tunisia.