Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

The areas planted with certified organic prickly pears currently stand at 5,000 hectares out of a total of 600 thousand hectares. Investments in this sector have exceeded two million dinars, said Samia Maamer, director general of organic agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.

Revenues from exports of the prickly pear sector reached more than 5MD in 2016. These exports were mainly destined for the European market. In Tunisia, only 20 companies operate in this sector which is a promising export market and is a new economic niche for several disadvantaged regions, added the official in a statement to TAP, on the sidelines of an exhibition of Prickly pear oil, held at the Tunisia Health Expo (March 7-10, 2018).

A dozen companies of different sizes exhibit in this show and present a variety of products extracted from the prickly pears, such as oil, vinegar, cosmetics and jam …

These companies are members of the national “Organic Cactus Seed Oil-Origin Tunisia” programme launched in 2017 and initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.

This programme aims at the valorisation of the oil of organic fig seeds and is supported by the market access project for agri-food and local products (PAMPAT), financed by the State Secretariat for the Economy of the Mediterranean of Swiss Confederation (SECO) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

According to Maamer, the objective of this programme which provided training (quality, packaging and market conquest …) to the 20 member companies, is to value the fruit of prickly pears, knowing that previously, the objective of Planting this fruit was just to conserve the soil and provide the fodder to animals.