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Tunisia : 150 thousand tons of olive oil for this season

The Tunisian production of olives for the season 2008 -2009 will vary.  According to the estimations it will be around 700 and 800 thousand tons, which equals an oil production of around 150 thousand tons. With these figures, the production witnesses a sensitive decrease in comparison to last year’s production which was about  200 thousand tons. These figures improved  on the occasion of “the National Day of  the preparation and valorization of olive-growing season”, at the NUAF head office on November 3rd .  (The National Union of Agriculture and Fishing)
Among this production, 10 % come from  irrigated zones of cultures which represent only 2% of the whole forest of olive-trees. An important part of this production was assured by the complementary irrigation of olive trees in certain dry zones such as those of Kairouan and Sidi Bouzid. It’s the Sahel regions and those of the North which assured the important part of this production, about 54%. The production of the South and South West regions have witnessed a decrease in comparison to the previous years.
In order to provide better conditions for this season, some regional committees were created to focus on this objective.  These committees were gathered at the end of the month of October and decided that the beginning date of the gathering of olives will be on the second fortnight of this month of November, according to the regions and according to the maturity degree of the olives. The other national committee will facilitate the difficulties that may appear underway as well as the smooth running of the season of gathering.
The fixed objective for this season is mainly to improve the quality of the produced oil and this by the accompaniment of the oil press owners. Regional Sensitizing campaigns will also be programmed with the collaboration of ‘Ezzeitouna’ institution.
Tunisia is the second world producer of olive oil, with 70 million of olive trees on a surface of 1.7 million hectares, 24 thousand hectares of which are devoted to table olive.
The forest of olive trees  in Tunisia covers 1/3 of the total agricultural surface. Tunisia ranks the second after the European Union. By country, Tunisia is the fourth producer after Spain, which monopolizes 40% of the world production, Italy and Greece.
The Tunisian production has reached 163 thousand tons of olive oil in the last decade, that is to say 6% of the world production. Tunisia managed to maintain the production of 200 thousand tons during the last 5 years, with 1660 oil presses with a capacity of production equal to 32 thousand tons per day. The olive oil sector creates directly or indirectly, about 309 thousand farmers, that is 60% of agricultural producers, and it represents 35 million working day per year, that is 20% of agricultural labor.  

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