Tunisia’s status as the world’s second-largest olive oil producer was short-lived, as recent forecasts signal a dramatic drop from last year’s bumper crop.
The country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries has announced there will be approximately 150,000 tons of olive oil compared with 340,000 tons last season.
In a statement on the ministry’s website, it said 988 mills are currently producing an estimated 30,000 tons per day compared with 1,150 oil mills in operation over the same period last season.
The lower production forecast is likely to push up the price of olive oil, according to the ministry.
The latest figures are in stark contrast to Tunisia’s production levels last season when the country exported more olive oil than any other producer nation after a record olive crop, overtaking Italy and Spain.
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Exports skyrocketed three-fold over the previous year’s output with 299,300 tons of olive oil supplied to overseas markets netting around 1.9 billion Tunisian dinars.
At the time, officials in the Tunisian sector were pleased about the bumper crop but predicted 2015 yields be much lower because orchards usually do not produce such a good crop over two consecutive years.