The food trade balance posted a deficit of 534 million dinars (MD) in the first five months of 2019, which stands at 6.5% of the total trade balance deficit, against a surplus of 219.3 MD during the same period in 2018, thus registering a coverage rate of 80% against 109.6% during the same period in 2018.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Human Resources and Fisheries, this is due to the increase in the value of food imports by 16% and the decrease in exports by 15.5, because of the decline by 43% in the olive oil revenues.
Food exports in the first five months of 2019 dropped by 15.5%, compared to the same period in 2018, due to a 43% decline in value and 40% in quantity.
Revenues from other food exports edged up 11% due to the rise by 7% in the revenues of date exports, citrus fruits (19%), seafood (29%), fresh vegetables (27%), canned vegetables, fruit and fish (48%) and pasta (62%).
The value of food exports in the first five months of 2019 reached 10.8 of the country’s total exports against 14.7 during the same period the year before.
In addition, the value of food imports in the first five months of 2019 stood at 2,654 MD, up by 16%, compared to 2018, following the increase in the import value of certain food products, including soft wheat (52%), barley (87%), maize (33%) in addition to other food products and milk and meat products at consecutive rates of 50% and 22%.
Other imported food products declined in terms of value, including sugar (15%), vegetable oils (12%) and potatoes (35%) due to lower import volumes.
The value of food imports during the first five months of 2019 stabilized at 9.7% compared to the same period in 2018.