As the month of Ramadan approaches - the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins this year around March 22 - the demand for dates in Muslim countries and those with a large Muslim community is witnessing a significant surge. "All dates exporters are preparing for this period of the year" says Mr. Mohamed Akermi, CEO of the Tunisian exporter Tunileaf.
The case of the company reflects the market situation. "We produce several varieties of dates more or less humid, the most humid ones are exported to neighboring countries, mainly Morocco and France, while the less humid ones are exported elsewhere in the world," explains Mr. Akermi.
The most popular Tunisian dates variety remains Deglet Nour: "This variety is very popular for its juicy aspect and sweet taste. The majority of our volumes of Deglet Nour is exported to Morocco, that's 33 thousand tons every year."
In second place of the company's destinations, come the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia: "To these countries, we ship standard half-dry varieties that can withstand long trips."
The rest of the production of Tunileaf is exported to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Senegal, and Nigeria. "We are taking steps to reach the Indian market since there is a large Muslim community and the demand for dates rises in Ramadan."
While the demand for Tunisian dates is explained by their competitive price, the transportation cost became a burden for the exporters "for example, the cost of transporting a container from Tunisia to France has gone from 2000 euros before Covid to 3500 today, from Tunisia to Jakarta it has gone from 3700 to 5500 dollars, and from Tunisia to the Netherlands, from 5400 to 7000 EUR".
"Nevertheless, Tunisian dates will remain competitive in the international market, thanks to their quality and the consistency of production", concludes Mr. Akermi.
For more information:
Mr. Akermi Mohamed