Production, Exports Down in Tunisia but Optimism Remains High

Tunisian olive oil production and exports are down for this season as the country plans further investments in the sector.

Apr. 26, 2017
By Isabel Putinja

Recent News

Figures released by Tunisia’s National Office for Oil reveal that olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to reach 100,000 tons this year, which rep­re­sents a 28.5 per­cent decrease com­pared to the 140,000 tons pro­duced in the 2015/2016 crop year. Exports are expected to dip to 75,000 com­pared to 100,000 last year.

Chokri Bayoudh, CEO of Tunisia’s National Office for Oil, told the Tunisian press agency Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) the fall in pro­duc­tion is due to drought con­di­tions in some olive-grow­ing regions of the coun­try.

Figures released by the National Office on April 10 reveal that from November 2016 to March 2017, the coun­try exported 49,076 tons of olive oil. Of this fig­ure, 42,483 tons were exported in bulk to 20 coun­tries, with Italy, Spain, the US, and France being the largest importers, and Morocco at 5th place. The remain­ing 6,593 tons were exported as refined olive oil to 39 coun­tries.

Over the past five years, 20,000 tons of refined olive oil have been exported, com­pared to only 7,000 tons dur­ing the pre­vi­ous five years. This increase reflects aims to dou­ble exports of refined oil to 40,000 tons over the next five years, Bayoudh said.

As reported by Afrique La Tribune, Bayoudh told Tunisian radio that he’s opti­mistic about the upcom­ing 2017 – 2018 sea­son and expected a good year for both pro­duc­tion and exports. Keen to make fur­ther invest­ments in the olive sec­tor, Tunisia is also await­ing a loan from the World Bank for the devel­op­ment of olive plan­ta­tions and for­est resources, as well as assis­tance to cit­i­zens who would like to fur­ther develop these sec­tors.

A Tunisian del­e­ga­tion also recently vis­ited the UK and Japan to attract poten­tial new export mar­kets, and the coun­try is set to host the 4th edi­tion of the Sousse International Olive Fair from April 20 to 23, with 120 exhibitors attend­ing from Europe and the Middle East.

In 2014/2015, Tunisia expe­ri­enced a record olive har­vest, pro­duc­ing 340,000 tons of olive oil, which in that year made it the sec­ond world pro­ducer after Spain.

In the same year, Tunisia exported 304,000 tons of olive oil and was the largest exporter. Since then, it has taken fourth place as pro­ducer, and third place as exporter after Spain and Italy.

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