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Couscous: Seeds of Dignity

27 August 2021 @ 22:00 23:00

Pic. Ernest Riva

Director Habib Ayeb

Original title كسكسي: حبوب الكرامة

French title Couscous: Les Graines de la Dignité.

Year 2017

Scientific advisorsi Ray Bush e Amine Slim

Editor Najwa Khéchimi

Cinematography Marwen Trabelsi e Ahmad essid

Color grading Idir Ben Slama Mixaggio: Yazid Chebbi

Production Inside

Couscous, with its various recipes, constitutes the staple food of all of the populations of the Maghreb, including Tunisia. It is for this region what rice is for most of Asia. Visitors to Tunisian homes are invariably received around meals of couscous. Beyond representing traditional norms of hospitality, a dish of couscous is also rich in information on the economic, social, cultural and ecological circumstances of those who produce and prepare it.

The documentary « Couscous: Seeds of Dignity », which focuses on the political, social, economic and ecological conditions of cereal and couscous production, demonstrates how the food question is in fact at the heart of the issue of individual and collective human dignity as well as local and national food independence and sovereignity.

Almost self-sufficient in cereals until the beginning of the 20th century, Tunisia now imports more than half of its food needs as dependency increases from one year to the next. The film « Couscous: Seeds of Dignity» is an invitation to open, serious and collective debate on the policies of food dependency pursued by all Tunisian governments from the end of the French colonial era until today.

Habib Ayeb

Habib Ayeb

Habib Ayeb is a geographer, researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Paris 8 in Saint Denis, France. A specialist in social geography, his research areas cover issues related to food sovereignty, environment, peasant issues, climate change, marginality and poverty, social change, and the role of the environment in the development of food security … Its research areas are mainly focused on Tunisia and the whole of North Africa. His latest major publication is the book with Professor Ray Bush of the University of Leeds (UK): Habib Ayeb & Ray Bush (2019) Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa. Agrarian Questions in Egypt and Tunisia”. Anthem Press, London. He is also a committed documentary filmmaker. Among his films: Om-Layoun (2021 – on water issues),Couscous : Seeds of Dignity (2017 – on food sovereignty),Fellahin (2014 – on small farmers’ resistance),Gabes Labess (2014 – on the environment) andGreen Mirages (2012 – on development models and impoverishment). In 2017, Ayeb and other comrades created the “Observatory of Food Sovereignty and Environment – OSAE” (, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Tunis.

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