Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

The food trade balance recorded a sharp improvement in the 1st five months of 2018, the coverage rate of exports for imports stood at 109.6% against 67,1% in the same period in 2017, according to data published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.

This is explained by the increase in the value of food exports (+ 90%) compared to imports (16.3%), which generated a surplus in the food trade balance of 219.3 Million Dinars ( MD), against a deficit of 647.7 MD, during the first five months of 2017.

The value of food exports in the 1st five months of 2018 reached the equivalent of 2,509.4 MD, a rise by 90%, compared to the same period in the previous year.

This growth is due to the increase in the exports of olive oil in quantity (127.8 thousand tons against 40.1 thousand tons) and in value (1,216.2 MD against 359 MD) and the improvement by 6% in the level of prices.

Food exports during the first five months of 2018 edged up 34%, except for revenues from olive oil.

The improvement in exports is also explained by the rise of seafood and date revenues, respectively 44% and 35%, in addition to the development of the value of sales of fresh vegetables by 47%, especially the tomatoes produced by geothermal and the increase in the citrus exports by 5% value, in spite of the drop by 25% in quantities.

Exports of summer fruits increased 43% in quantities to 9 thousand tons and 70% in value to reach 30.8 million.

The value of food imports during the first five months of the current year amounted to 2,290 MD, registering an increase of 16,3%, compared to the same period in 2017.

This decline is due to the drop in the value of the dinar against foreign currencies and the growth of imports of certain commodities, especially durum wheat (+ 30%), common wheat (+ 18%), milk (+ 58%) and sugar (+ 22%).

On the other hand, the value of imports of other food products edged down, as did yellow maize and vegetable oils, which fell by 13% and 28%, respectively.