`Olive Farmers in Tunisia Lament Price Drop Despite Climb in Oil Prices - Olive Oil Times

Olive Farmers in Tunisia Lament Price Drop Despite Climb in Oil Prices

Dec. 10, 2014
Isabel Putinja

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The regional union of agri­cul­tural farm­ers (syn­di­cat régional des agricul­teurs) in Sfax, Tunisia called for the National Oil Office (Office National de l’Huile) to take swift action to reg­u­late the export price of olives.

Faouzi Zayani, direc­tor of the union, declared that the falling price is due to a decrease in the export price for olives from 6,200 to 5,650 Tunisian Dinars per ton ($2,796 to $3,038). He appealed to the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture to inter­vene and revise the price. Local olive pro­duc­ers have protested that the decreased price does not cover their pro­duc­tion costs.

Tunisia had a record olive crop this year with an esti­mated 260,000 tons har­vested, com­pared to only 70,000 tons last year. This rep­re­sents a 370 per­cent increase, with Tunisia lead­ing non-EU coun­tries in olive pro­duc­tion lev­els. The olive-grow­ing region of Sfax accounts for 30 per­cent of Tunisia’s olive crop.

Meanwhile, at the end of last month the price of Tunisian extra vir­gin olive oil had risen to €2.88/kg, an increase of 24 per­cent com­pared to last year.

Tunisia’s olive oil exports have increased sig­nif­i­cantly in the past few years, rep­re­sent­ing 40 per­cent of Tunisia’s agri­cul­tural exports, and 10 per­cent of all national exports. It was esti­mated that this year there would be 170,000 tonnes of olive oil for export, which would bring in rev­enue in excess of 1 bil­lion Tunisian Dinar ($538,289,540), accord­ing to the direc­tor of food indus­tries.

However, despite this year’s boun­ti­ful crop, it seems that Tunisian olive farm­ers may get less than they bar­gained for.

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