October 3, 2023

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Slow Food protect and promote a unique agroforestry system shaped by communities in Tunisia

A new Presidium for ancient figs varieties cultivated in a GIAHS site (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems), the hanging gardens of Djebba el Olia, will be officially launched on August 16 at the Festival Elkarmous happening in Djebba el Olia between the 10 and 17th of August.

The workshop Emergence of local specificities and construction of the territorial resources in Djebba El Olia will take place at Lycée sectoriel agricole of Thibar from 8am to 1pm.

At the end there will be a visit to the hanging gardens and lunch inside the Park of Djebba.

The Ancient Figs Varieties of Djebba Presidium joins the two other Slow Food Presidia already protecting biodiversity in Tunisia, namely Kerkennah Islands Charfia and Traditional fishing and Tunisian Traditional Durum Wheat Varietires.

“The Ancient Figs Varieties of Djebba Presidium follows a participatory approach where all producers unite to give value and promote the many varieties of figs and their related food and craft products, the stories and traditions of the community” says Faouzi Djebbi, the Slow Food referent for the Presidium. “Djebba figs are all different in color, taste and shape. These 17 varieties have been in Djebba for a very long time so that local people have been able to keep them until now by not stopping to cultivate them and preserving each fig tree in order not to let  them disappear. More or less consciously, the producers have managed to protect and conserve the local biodiversity of Djebba, which is a unique area in terms of agro-biodiversity”.

Faouzi Djebbi is also the President of “GDA Claires Fontaines” for the safeguard of the hanging gardens of Djebba el Olia and of the Association “Festival Elkarmous”. He is also the coordinator of the project “Hanging gardens from Djebba El Olia”, a community for the safeguard of the ancient figs of Djebba recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). GIAHS represent not only stunning natural landscapes but also agricultural practices that create livelihoods in rural areas while combining biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and tradition and innovation in a unique way. Since 2005, FAO has designated 78 systems in 24 countries as agricultural heritage sites.

The ancient figs varieties of Djebba are used both for self-consumption and for the local market. They can be cooked in jams or dried (chriha) to be consumed throughout the year in the community. They are used to cook traditional pastries such as magroud, samsa or rfis tounsi. The figs of Djebba are for its inhabitants and the neighboring villages a delicious and refined dessert very typical of the region. In some cases, they are also present in traditional savory dishes such as couscous or mesfouf.

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