The Tunisian seasonal potato production for the 2019/20 campaign is of around 250 thousand tons. Such a yield is encountering enormous commercialization difficulties on both a domestic and international scale.
"The main obstacles are due to Covid-19 as exports to Europe are blocked as well as those to Libya and hotels and restaurants - the main potato consumers - have been closed due to containment. What is more, there are procurement difficulties in various regions and producers have little in the way of refrigerated storage possibilities," explains agricultural engineer Mustapha Touayi.
These obstacles have caused a drop in the seasonal potato production in Tunisia, leading to producer protests.
"The Tunisian government must intervene to find an effective solution to this crucial problem. The Ministry of Trade, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, promised the setting up of a storage facility for 40,000 tons."
Touayi also stresses that supply is abundant in wholesale markets leading to a drop in quotations, which do not cover production costs. "Retail prices in supermarkets and corner shops are still high, which is a contradiction. Tunisia used to export on average between 11,000 and 16,000 tons of potatoes to Europe and some Arab countries."
"We are hoping the situation will improve following the de-confinement strategy implemented by the government."