The food trade balance recorded during the 1st two months of 2018 a significant improvement with a coverage rate of exports by imports reaching 134.2% against 63% during the same period in 2017.
This increase is the result of a 109.2% rise in the food exports value and a 1.8% drop in imports, generating a food trade balance surplus of 268.3 million dinars (MD) against a 295.2MD deficit in the 1st two months of 2017.
The food trade balance surplus contributed to the improvement of the coverage rate of the overall trade balance from 3.1% to 74.9%.
The value of food exports in January and February 2018 reached 1,052MD that is up by 109.2% compared to the same period last year.
This growth is due to the increase of olive oil exports in quantity (54.5 thousand tonnes against 16.4 thousand tonnes) and in value (544.8MD against 143.3MD) and the 14% improvement at the price level, whose revenues contributed to the growth by 68% in the overall food exports.
The improvement of exports is also explained by the rise by 79% and 32% in the receipts of seafood and date products, respectively, in addition to the increase by 64% of the sales value of fresh vegetables, notably geothermal tomatoes, and the exports value of canned vegetables and fruits by 12% and canned fish by 16%.
However, the exports of citrus fruits dropped by 12% in value and 38% in quantity due to the decline of harvest dedicated to export compared to the previous season.
The value of food exports during the 1st two months of 2018 stood at 15.9% out of the overall exports of goods against 10.8% during the same period in 2017.
Value of food imports down by 1.8%
The value of food imports during the same period stood at 787.3MD recording a 1.8% drop compared to 2017.
This fall is caused by the 16% decline in cereal imports, notably soft wheat, barley and corn, and a 41% and 68% drop in coffee and tea, respectively.
Besides, most of the classified non-essential food products were stable at the level of the structure of imports at a rate hovering over 18%.
However, the value of imports of other foodstuffs edged up such as milk and by-products by 65%, essential oils by 44% and sugar by 8%.
The value of food imports in January and February 2018 represented 8.9% of Tunisia’s overall imports against 11.2% during the same period in 2017.