Egg production in Tunisia
Intensive poultry production in Tunisia did not begin until the 60's, specifically until 1967, when the state built the first breeding and laying farms. Until then, the demand for eggs was met by traditional poultry farming.
Intensive poultry production in Tunisia did not begin until the 60’s, specifically until 1967, when the state built the first breeding and laying farms. Until then, the demand for eggs was met by traditional poultry farming.
Since then, the poultry industry in Tunisia has intensively developed, and since 1984 egg production has been able to supply all the internal demand of the country. Poultry production in the country accounts for 12% of total agricultural production and 33% of animal production. Current egg production is estimated at 2,117 million eggs per year, of which 97% are produced intensively, while 7% correspond to local production.
In the case of Tunisia, there is a poultry association, called GIPAC, from its acronym in French (Groupement Interprofessionnel des Produits Avicoles et Cunicoles), which is under the direct tutelage of the Ministry of Agriculture, which watches over the development of the country’s poultry industry and can intervene at all production levels to ensure the quality of poultry products produced in the country.
There are currently about 850 layer farms in Tunisia, 350 breeding poultry farms, as well as 4 hatcheries in the country (table 1). Unlike poultry meat production, which is located mainly on the country’s coastline, egg production takes place inside of the country, with the Safax region concentrating the largest part of layer farms (image 1.)
A major challenge currently facing the poultry industry in Tunisia and especially related to egg production, is Campylobacteriosis.
Campylobacteriosis, is one of the most important zoonotic diseases worldwide, and is produced by bacteria of the genus Campandlobacter spp., being species C. jejuni and C. coli, the most frequently isolated in humans and that occur with diarrheal symptoms.
Recently published studies (M. Gharbi, A. BĂ©jaoui, et al., March 2022) have reported a high prevalence of these Gram-negative bacteria in Tunisian poultry farms. In these trials it was observed that 43% of the farms analyzed in northern Tunisia were positive for Campilobacter, being C. jejuni, the most frequently isolated species (68.4%).
Likewise, this study revealed the emergence of resistance to the main antibiotics used in poultry farming to control these bacterial diseases. The antibiotics used in poultry farming are often the same as those used in human medicine, so the appearance of resistance in bacteria isolated from birds is considered an important public health problem.
To prevent the proliferation of these bacteria in the digestive tract of birds and therefore their presence in eggs, it is necessary to use effective antimicrobial solutions. The cimenol ring is a phenolic compound of botanical origin, which has demonstrated a powerful bactericidal and fungicidal effect, even against Campylobacter spp.
Several studies have proven the effectiveness of the cimenol ring to reduce the bacterial load in eggs in laying hens, and at the same time, by improving the balance of the digestive flora, it allows to obtain a higher productive performance, increasing the laying rate by up to 9%.
Additionally, unlike antibiotics, the cimenol ring does not generate antimicrobial resistances, does not leave residues in animals or eggs and does not require a withdrawal period.