Tunisia's food balance deficit is growing

Tunisia: Banana imports up 39%, citrus exports down 16%

In 2017, Tunisia’s food balance deficit reached 1,338 million dinars (454 million euros), or 9.3% of the trade deficit in the first ten months of 2017. This can be compared to 947.5 million dinars (322 million euros) during the 2016 period, due to the continued rise in imports of basic foodstuffs by 21.8%.

The Ministry of Agriculture concluded that during the 11 months of 2017 Tunisia has experienced an increase in purchases of the most basic food products, in addition to a continued unfavourable exchange rate for the dinar against foreign currencies.

The africanmanager.com reported on several commodities; Tunisia’s sugar imports increased by 91%, vegetable oils (76%), coffee and tea (91%), milk and derivatives (82%) and durum wheat (18%).

The pace of imports of other non-basic food products, such as bananas and food preparations also rose by 39% and 11%, respectively.

The rate of coverage of imports by exports reached 67.5% against 72% during the same period of 2016, according to data published by the Ministry of Agriculture. As for Tunisian exports of food products, they reached 2,781.4 million dinar (947 million euros), up 14.2% compared to the same period of last year. Export revenue from dates increased by 12% to 488 million dinars (166 million euros), including an increase of 11% for organic dates.

Exports of certain food products declined during the same period, as did citrus fruits and canned fish, by 16% and 23% respectively, despite the increase in production.

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