Fact sheet:

Tunisian potato production

Approximately 27,000 hectares in Tunisia are destined for potato crops, which means Tunisia produces on average 360,000 tons of potatoes per year. This is about more than 17% of the county's cultivated land, located essentially between Cap Bon, Bizerta, Jendouba, Gafsa, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid. On average, more than 8,000 tons of produce is exported to Germany and Italy.

Potatoes represent the second crop in the country after tomatoes. Spunta, Bellini and Nicola are the main varieties, however there are 51 varieties reported in the official catalogue from the Ministry.

Main varieties in Tunisia

In 2011, the total export of Tunisian potatoes was 13,864 tons for approximately 5 million Euro, whereas in 2012, because of the economic crisis in some European countries, exports have decreased to 5,286 tons, corresponding to €2.3 million.

In Tunisia there is a "national programme for the development of potato export,s" (i.e. the production of varieties destined to exports) that is trying to build a solid producer and exporter basis to increase the amount of exported product and facilitate the meeting between demand and supply. This would also enable the monitoring of the volume of cultivated and exported produce as well as its balance.

The government also offers a special framework for producers in the new cultivation areas, encouraging them to adhere to export programmes.

Potatoes are harvested according to three seasonal periods: early, seasonal and post-seasonal.

Tunisia's potato production calendar

Potatoes are mainly packed in Big Bags though it is possible to place the product in crates, nets or cardboard boxes depending on the needs of the client.

The certification of the production base (HACCP, GlobalGAP etc) and the tariff relief granted from the EU facilitate the access of potatoes from Tunisia in the European markets and their competitiveness.

In Italy, production doesn't satisfy both national demand and exports, so Italian operators import produce from different countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France, Israel and Tunisia.

Importing potatoes from Tunisia could be a real business opportunity and a good alternative for the Italian market, since the two countries are near to each other so transport costs wouldn't be high and delivery times would be shorter.

These factors represent a great advantage, as they would enable Italian importers to be more competitive. In addition, the varieties that are cultivated in Tunisia are more or less the same as the ones produced by Italian farmers, they ripen earlier and have a good quality.

For more information:
Sami Chaari
Agri Didon Tunisia
76, Avenue Habib Bourguiba Appt A-1-1
2080 Ariana (Tunisia)
Cell.: +39 21 622 33 74 10
Email: s.chaari@agrididon-tunisia.com
Web: www.agrididon-tunisia.com

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