Desertification is an ongoing problem that is causing harm in North Africa. Tunisia is especially affected by the expansion of the desert and has been struggling with this problem for some time. The Tunisian government at this time, has not implemented much policy to combat this issue, however, organizations such as the UN and the NGO called Acacias for All have been making strides in attempt to stop the expansion of the desert.
Acacias for All is a Non-Governmental Organization in Tunisia that is fighting desertification along with poverty and gender inequality. It helps local women form agricultural collectives that repurpose farming into a more sustainable fashion. Currently it is only focused in Tunisia but they have growth plans that include expanding into Morocco and Algeria as well.
Almonds and olives are the most common crops in these three countries, however, they are crops that require a lot of water. This water scarce region relies mostly on rainfall and groundwater, making it is extremely vulnerable to climate change and desertification as water scarcity continues to expand. 76% of water use is from agricultural practices so Acacias for All is attempting to make changes in farming practices in order to compensate for the increasingly lack of water. Typical crops do not thrive in this environment, making the Acacia tree perfect as it is able to adapt to the desert climate. The roots of these trees will help to anchor the topsoil so that the wind will not blow it away and renew the degraded soil. This alone will help prevent the spread of desertification and will additionally contribute to fighting poverty and gender inequality.
The cooperative structure of Acacias for All allows women to pay a small, one-time joining fee in exchange for the trees and training on how to grow and plant them as well as training on entrepreneurship and business skills. Currently, Acacias for All includes 300 farmers across Tunisia and its future plans to expand into Morocco and Algeria would work to impact over 10 million farmers.