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Tunisia experiences difficulties in marketing citrus harvest

The Tunisian 2019/2020 citrus harvest is encountering difficulties with regard to domestic marketing, similarly to date, apple and pomegranate's, due to the lack of visibility in the purchase of standing citrus fruit crops. The failure of large producers and traders to purchase citrus fruit in large quantities would cause prices to collapse and financial difficulties for farmers.

President of the Regional Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (URAP) in Nabeul Imad el Bey pointed out several difficulties facing the sector, notably local marketing and exports. In a statement to TAP, he underlined the drop in the purchase of standing citrus fruits, with the usual sale of 80% of the harvest, up to this time of year, against 20% of production during this season.

El Bey explained this reluctance to buy citrus fruit by the buyers' anticipation of the development of the epidemiological situation and its impact on the export operation. He drew attention to the existence of several diseases that have affected the harvest, citing the "black spot" that distorts the size of the fruit, impacting on export.

Exports from Tunisia did not exceed 7,000 tonnes of Maltese oranges to France, against annual rates exceeding 15,000 tonnes. Although this problem has been solved, there was also the issue of insufficient rainfall which affects the level of volumes, in addition to the ban on exports.

He also proposed to speed up the technical studies for the production market of Menzel Bouzalfa and the reopening of markets. In terms of promotion, he suggested that efforts should be redoubled to preserve Tunisia's position on the French market as regards Maltese oranges and to identify a solution for the opening of the borders with Libya, which absorbs different harvests.

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