`A Bumper Harvest in Tunisia

Africa / Middle East

A Bumper Harvest in Tunisia

Nov. 13, 2014
Aldo Pesce

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Olive trees in Takrouna, Tunisia

No one, not even the elders, can remem­ber trees so full of olives.

While world­wide pro­duc­tion of olive oil is hav­ing an off year, the har­vest in Tunisia is shap­ing up to be one of the best ever. Per­fect weather con­di­tions for pro­duc­tiv­ity helped ready olive trees for the a record sea­son.
See more: Com­plete Cov­er­age of the 2014 Har­vest
Already the biggest pro­ducer among Arab coun­tries, this year Tunisia aspires to be third-biggest olive oil pro­ducer in the world. This year’s pro­duc­tion is expected to be between 265,000 to 285,000 tons — more than twice last year’s out­put — accord­ing to the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture.

And while it is a great gain for the Tunisian olive oil sec­tor, the bumper har­vest is pos­ing some prob­lems.

The high cost of man­power, a lack of skilled work­ers, and the dan­ger of rob­beries are real threats for pro­duc­ers. Nev­er­the­less, Tunisian exporters will be look­ing to thrive in Europe, tak­ing advan­tage of poor har­vests in an olive oil strong­hold that will fall short of sat­is­fy­ing its own inter­nal demand.

Spe­cial mea­sures have been under­taken by experts and local author­i­ties for the larger-than-nor­mal har­vest oper­a­tions. Sfax farm­ers started Mon­day, Novem­ber 9 to har­vest, and pro­duc­ers from other regions were allowed to start ear­lier due to a hail­storm.

New ini­tia­tives were also being con­sid­ered to mar­ket Tunisian olive oil to meet the high demand in the inter­na­tional mar­ket

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