The Sharing Underutilized Resources with Fishers and Farmers (SURF) project works to strengthen the capacity of Tunisian farmers, fishers, agriculture companies, fisheries and cooperatives to adapt to climate change challenges. The project works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries; the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia; the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries; Action Positive; and Virginia Tech to enhance Tunisia’s disaster management capabilities and natural resource preservation through innovation and modernization.
SURF aims to accelerate the adoption of climate adaptation and risk management practices, assist the government of Tunisia in establishing a disaster management system, and advance marketable climate change innovations and research.
SURF works directly with smallholder farmers and fishers to incorporate climate-smart practices, resources and technologies into their work and supports farmers and fishers in increasing sustainable production, commercial expansion, and access to finance so that interventions are commercially viable. The project also helps farmer and fisher cooperatives organize into clusters so that they have increased access to new resources and markets at the local and international levels.
The project supports the government of Tunisia in developing a national disaster management system through the introduction of disaster management technologies, such as forest watch towers, software that can forecast flooding, and e-platforms that communicate information about natural disasters to the public and help coordinate response efforts. These efforts will help expand the protection of critical landscapes, such as coastal areas and forests, that are also key economic resources. It will also ensure that rural communities, farmers and fishers are actively involved in and benefit from Tunisia’s national disaster risk management efforts.
SURF also connects Tunisian and U.S research institutions in agriculture, marine biology, and forestry to increase access to research opportunities for sustainable soil, forest and sea preservation. The project promotes the use of data science to spur innovation and improvements in the private agricultural and fishing sectors and in educational institutions.