Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia’s food trade balance posted a surplus of 226 million dinars (MD) in the 1st half of 2018, against a financial deficit of 728.5 MD during the same period last year, according to data published on Tuesday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.

The same data reveals that the import coverage rate by exports reached 108.7% at the end of June 2018, compared to 68.5% last year.

The Department of Agriculture attributed this development to the rise in the value of food exports at a faster pace than imports (78.3% compared with 12.3% of imported food products).

Exports of food products reached 2,822 MD in the first half of 2018, registering growth of 78.3% compared to 2017.

The increase in food exports is due to the rise in the exports of olive oil both in volume (142 thousand tons against 46 thousand tons) and in value (1,351.6 MD against 430.7 MD), without omitting the price level which increased by 3%.

The foreign exchange inflows of seafood and dates reached 7% and 35%, respectively, in addition to the improvement of the value of sales of fresh vegetables by 44%, especially citrus geothermal tomatoes (56%).

The value of food exports edged up 28%, without taking into account the inflow of olive oil during the same period, said the Ministry of Agriculture, specifying that Tunisia exported 15 thousand tons of fruits of the season worth nearly 45MD, a growth rate of 25% in volume and 55% in value.

The value of food exports accounted for 13.9% of the country’s total exports of goods in 2018, compared with 9.8% in 2017.

In contrast, the value of food imports climbed to 2,596 MD at the end of June 2018, recording up 12.3%, compared with 2017, given the recession of the Tunisian dinar’s exchange rate in comparison with foreign currencies, the evolution of imports of certain basic foodstuffs and the rise in international prices, such as hard and soft wheat (24%), barley (47%), milk by-products (65%) and sugar (11%).

Other food products saw their purchase value fall during this period, like maize and vegetable oil 30% and 31%, respectively.

Hence, the value of food imports during the first half of 2018, represents 9% of all imports of the country against 9.8% in 2017.