The coverage of the food balance has considerably declined between 2013 and 2014 (January-February) from 80.8% to 50.7 %, leading to an estimated 293.3 million dinars (MTD) deficit, according to data from the Directorate General for Research and Agricultural Development under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The increase in the deficit, which was 115.9 MTD during the first two months of 2013, resulted from the sharp decline in exports of food products ( -37.9 %) , due to a sharp drop of 80% in olive oil export earnings (45.4 MTD against 224.1 MTD), vegetable and fruit preparations (-83 %) , canned fish (-25%) and citrus (-8%) .
During the same period, food imports, which reached 595.5 million dinars, saw a slight decline of 1.1% compared to 2013, with a fall in the value of imports of wheat (-38 %) , maize (-46 %) and milk and dairy products (-16 %). However, the purchase of some products recorded a strong growth, like durum wheat (31%), barley (19%) and vegetable oils (67%).
During the first two months of 2014, exports of food products accounted for 11 % of the overall exports, while imports represented 9.2% of the total imports.