`Italy Becomes Largest Market for Tunisia’s Organic Olive Oil Exports - Olive Oil Times

Italy Becomes Largest Market for Tunisia’s Organic Olive Oil Exports

By Ofeoritse Daibo
Aug. 7, 2023 13:47 UTC

Italy has become the lead­ing des­ti­na­tion for Tunisian organic olive oil exports, accord­ing to the National Observatory of Agriculture (Onagri).

The vol­ume of Tunisia’s organic olive oil exports reached 41,300 tons at the end of May 2023, worth about 719.8 mil­lion dinars (€215 mil­lion). Organic pro­duc­tion in 2021 exceeded 105,000 tons, rep­re­sent­ing 44 per­cent of the country’s pro­duc­tion.

Italy was the des­ti­na­tion for the major­ity of organic olive oil exports (52.5 per­cent), fol­lowed by Spain (36.3 per­cent) and France (7.9 per­cent).

See Also:Tunisia Plans to Expand Olive Oil Exports to South Korea

From the begin­ning of the 2022/23 crop year, total olive oil exports from Tunisia increased by 36.9 per­cent, year-on-year, to around 2.1 bil­lion dinars (€620 mil­lion). Extra vir­gin olive oil rep­re­sented 89 per­cent of the total vol­ume exported.

Demand for organic olive oil has increased glob­ally. The mar­ket is expected to grow to $2.2 bil­lion by 2031, with an annual growth of nearly 9 per­cent.

Although Italy is the sec­ond-largest olive oil exporter in the world, to meet its con­tract require­ments and domes­tic demand, many large bot­tlers buy olive oil from Tunisia, whose organic exports con­sti­tute a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of its pro­duc­tion.

According to data from the Italian Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea), Italy imported 128,658 tons of vir­gin and extra vir­gin olive oil between January and April 2023, the last month for which data are avail­able. Of that total, Ismea data show that 10,078 tons came from Tunisia.

The long-term mar­ket vision fore­sees Tunisia play­ing an increas­ingly impor­tant role in bot­tled, value-added and organic extra vir­gin olive oil on the inter­na­tional mar­ket,” said Lisa Paglietti, an econ­o­mist at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

A 2016 agree­ment for­gives the first 56,700 tons of olive oil exported from Tunisia to the E.U. from the usual tar­iff of €124.50 per 100 kilo­grams.

As a result, big olive oil blend­ing com­pa­nies from Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Portugal pre­fer Tunisian imports over other major non-European pro­duc­ers.

According to the lat­est data, Europe imported 77 per­cent of Tunisia’s olive oil, fol­lowed by North America (16 per­cent) and Africa (5 per­cent) in 2022.

While Tunisia has tra­di­tion­ally been known as a bulk olive oil exporter, with European com­pa­nies blend­ing and pack­ag­ing the olive oil to re-export, offi­cials in the coun­try are try­ing to change this.

Chihab Ben Slama, the pres­i­dent of the Tunisian Chamber of Olive Oil Exporters, said the coun­try aims to reach 70,000 met­ric tons of indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged olive oil exports by 2025.


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