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Tunisia: food balance deficit beset by grain imports

The food trade balance recorded a deficit of 546.4 million dinars (MD), until the end of September 2020, against 1,114.5 MD recorded during the same period of the previous year, according to figures from the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI).

“The rate of coverage of imports by exports has reached 87.1% against 74% at the end of September 2019,” it said in its monthly bulletin published Wednesday in Tunis.

The value of food exports rose by 16.2% against a decline in imports of 1.3%.

The share of overall exports constitutes 13.4% until September 2020 in relation to total exports.

Despite the remarkable improvement in olive oil exports, a decline in the pace of exports of several agricultural products is observed, particularly for citrus fruits, fishery products and dates, due to the drop in citrus production and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The value of olive oil exports reached the sum of 1,822.6 MD against 1,022.4 MD recorded during the same period of the previous year.

The share of olive oil exports in food exports reached 49.5% against 32.3% during the previous year.

Tomato exports up 19.2%

With regard to export prices, they fell by 31.9% for those of olive oil and 6% for citrus fruits, compared to last year’s prices.

Only the export prices of fishery products increased by 4.6%.

The pace of olive oil exports has continued, exceeding the forecast for exports of 350.3 thousand tons since the beginning of the season, in addition to the improvement in the average price of olive oil compared to April, thanks to improved quality.

Regarding the share of food imports, they account for 11.2% of overall imports, said ONAGRI.

Imports down 1.3%

Grain imports reached 2,068 MD, up 13.6% compared to September 2019.

The share of grain imports, until September 2020, is about 48.9% of the total food imports, against 42.5% recorded during the same period of 2019.

These acquisitions in grains mainly concerned wheat (1255.3MD), representing 60.7% of total grain imports.

The average import price of durum wheat rose by 7.1% while the average price of common wheat fell by 6.9%.

The value of imports of vegetable oils fell by 15.2% to 335.9MD, but on average, the import prices of vegetable oils recorded an increase of 4.7%.

Sugar import quantities went down by 32.1% against a 2.1% increase in prices compared to the same period of the previous year.

The quantities of imported meat fell by 56.9%. The decline is also in value, with a drop of 59.3%.


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