`Tunisian Exporters See Opportunities Abroad - Olive Oil Times

Tunisian Exporters See Opportunities Abroad

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 20, 2021 10:02 UTC

Tunisian olive oil com­pa­nies will export at least 70,000 tons of bot­tled prod­uct every year start­ing in 2025.

This is the rosy fore­cast of the coun­try’s exporters, who sent 27,000 tons of pack­aged olive oil abroad in 2020.

According to the pres­i­dent of the Tunisian Chamber of olive oil exporters, Chihab Ben Slama, local pro­duc­ers are poised to ben­e­fit from the grow­ing world­wide demand.

In the last three decades, con­sump­tion of olive oil in the world has dou­bled and it tripled in non-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, as it hap­pened in China and Southeast Asia,” Ben Slama said, cit­ing fig­ures pub­lished by the International Olive Council.

During a tele­con­fer­ence with Chinese importers, Ben Slama noted that Tunisia accounts for seven per­cent of the world­wide olive oil pro­duc­tion.

Olive oil exports rep­re­sent six per­cent of the coun­try’s exports and 45 per­cent of the exported agri­cul­tural goods.

Ben Slama cited logis­ti­cal chal­lenges and bureau­cratic hur­dles as some of the rea­sons Tunisian olive oil exports to China are cur­rently not reach­ing their poten­tial.

During the meet­ing, Chinese importers high­lighted trade fig­ures for the last decade, which revealed a slide in Tunisian olive oil imports from 1,300 tons in 2012 and 2013 to just 100 tons in 2019.

According to Ben Slama, though, there is room for growth in all mar­kets. While the European Union sits as the major importer of Tunisian olive oil, local exporters look to other coun­tries as well.

79 per­cent of our [olive oil] exports are directed to Europe, 16 per­cent to the United States and 3 per­cent to Asia,” the pres­i­dent of the Chamber noted.

The rel­e­vance of the olive oil sec­tor within the coun­try’s econ­omy has grown for years. The National Olive Oil Board (ONH) has noted that in the last few months Tunisian olive oil exports have reached record highs.

And the Tunisian Agricultural Observatory (ONAGRI) has reported that, in 2019, olive oil was the most exported Tunisian prod­uct to the United States.

According to those num­bers, 79.6 per­cent of Tunisian food exports to the U.S. was olive oil. That trend was con­firmed in 2020 plac­ing Tunisia as the third-largest olive oil exporter to the States after Spain and Italy.


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