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Tunisia: coronavirus could cause economy to lose 0.5% growth

The coronavirus could cause the Tunisian economy to lose 0.5% growth and affect several key sectors including tourism, air and sea transport, reveals the National Observatory of Agriculture in a study entitled “Impacts of COVID-19 on the evolution of agricultural products in Tunisia”.

Based on recent studies conducted by experts Hakim Ben Hammouda and Mohamed Hédi Bechir, the study foresees 4 possible scenarios.

The first scenario (a situation under control) reveals a growth rate of about 1.75% while the fourth scenario (a situation out of control) predicts a growth of -1.86%.

According to the study, local consumption could fall from -1.56% to -5.23%. This is also the case for exports, which should decline from -1.98% to 10.34%.

As far as the local market is concerned, the Observatory forecasts a fall in demand for fresh agricultural products, particularly those with added value (fish, meat, etc.).

According to the same source, this fall is due to the decline in tourism and catering activities.

The Observatory stressed the importance of monitoring the evolution of supply and demand for the coming period, bearing in mind that local markets are currently abundant in fruit, vegetables and fish.

With regard to exports, the study estimates that if the spread of COVID-19 is controlled, the Tunisian olive oil market could replace the Italian and Spanish markets.

The demand for dates will decline, the same source indicates, specifying that this decline will be accentuated by the application of measures related to air transport restrictions in some markets, particularly the European market.

The Observatory forecasts losses in fish exports by about 652 tons, or 13.3 million dinars (prices in the first quarter of 2019).

Vegetable exports will fall considerably, such as wild tomatoes and certain geothermal products such as cucurbits, 50% of which are destined for European Union countries.

It is therefore essential, according to the observatory, to attract new markets

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