Tunisia exported more olive oil than any other country for the 2014/2015 season, overtaking Spain, according to statistics released by the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.
Olive oil exports reached 299,300 tons — three times the previous year’s output and more than 10 percent of global olive oil consumption — fetching a record 1.9 billion Tunisian dinars ($976 million).
While Spain and Italy experienced the worst harvests in years last season due to bad weather and infestations of Xylella fastidiosa, the 2014/15 harvest in Tunisia was a record-breaker
Tunisia’s olive oil exports to Spain increasing twelve-fold, and by 336 percent to Italy, with the two EU countries traditionally being Tunisia’s largest customers.
Such growth in export figures was made possible in part by the weak demand at home, as Tunisians themselves have been turning more to seed oils in recent years.
For the upcoming 2015/2016 Tunisian olive oil harvest, production is expected to be back down to about 140,000 tons.
Olive oil exports represent 40 percent of the country’s agricultural exports and 10 percent of total exports.