€5 Million Loan to Boost Tunisian Olive Oil Exports

Two olive companies received a €5 Million loan to expand sourcing and boost exports of Tunisian branded olive oil.

Nov. 22, 2016
By Michelle Smith

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lend­ing €5 mil­lion to two olive oil com­pa­nies in Tunisia to sup­port the devel­op­ment and help boost bot­tled olive oil exports.

Borrowers, Sovena MENA and Tiba Foods, sub­sidiaries of Sovena Group, a Portuguese olive oil com­pany, will use the bank’s funds to expand their sourc­ing of olive oil, which will deepen links with local farm­ers and mills and the loan will con­tribute to increas­ing the pro­duc­tion of bot­tled olive oil for export,” EBRD said in a press release.

We are proud to say that we are present in many mar­kets, but we still need to cre­ate a pro­file for Tunisian olive oil.- Abdel Salam al-Wadi, Tunisian Olive Oil Assoc.

Currently, most of the coun­try’s pro­duc­tion is exported in bulk, but exporters and offi­cials agree Tunisia needs to export more olive oil in bot­tles, said the Financial Times. Bottling cre­ates a value-added prod­uct that offers higher eco­nomic rewards and helps Tunisia build a brand.

Last year, demand for Tunisian olive oil rose to unprece­dented lev­els. Exports reached 312,000 tons for the 2014 – 15 sea­son, up from 45,000 tons in the 2013 – 14 sea­son, accord­ing to data from the Oxford Business Group. Tunisia was the world’s sec­ond largest pro­ducer, yet, many con­sumers did­n’t know when they were pour­ing the coun­try’s olive oil.

Spain and Italy imported over half of Tunisia’s olive oil exports as they both wit­nessed poor olive har­vests dur­ing the 2014 – 15 cam­paign. Once the Tunisian olive oil was within their bor­ders, much of it was blended with the domes­tic sup­ply and branded as being from the two European nations.

Building a brand by export­ing more bot­tled olive oil is a chal­lenge the indus­try is aim­ing to over­come, Abdel Salam al-Wadi, chair­man of the Tunisian Olive Oil Association told the Financial Times last year. We are proud to say that we are present in many mar­kets, in the US, the Gulf and China and Japan. But we still need to cre­ate a pro­file for Tunisian olive oil,” he said.

Tunisia’s exports of bot­tled olive oil have grown over the past decade, reach­ing 20,000 tons last year, accord­ing to the Oxford Business Group, which said the aim is to export 50,000 tons by 2020. EBRD’s expects its invest­ment to be a step for­ward.

EBRD is com­mit­ted to fos­ter­ing Tunisia’s olive oil indus­try and is becom­ing one of the largest sup­port­ers with its invest­ment and pol­icy dia­logue, said Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, EBRD office head in Tunisia. After two projects in the olive oil sec­tor in Tunisia, we are very proud to team up with Sovena Group to boost the pro­duc­tion and export of Tunisian olive oil.”

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