The food products import-export coverage ratio has decreased to 72.1% in the first nine months of the current year, from 110.9% in the same period in 2015, bringing the food trade deficit to 758.5 million Tunisian dinars (MTD), i.e. 8.1% of the total deficit of the trade balance, against a surplus of 298.4 MTD during the first nine months of 2015.
This decrease is due to the fall in exports by 35.3% (nearly 1,964.8 MTD, against 3,034.6 MTD in September 2015) against a stability in import (-0.5% compared to September 2015, with a value of 2,723.3 MTD), according to a statement released on Thursday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.
As regards exports, the fall was due mainly to lower revenues from olive oil 65% (596.6 MTD against 1,697 MTD), while revenues of most other food products, namely fresh seafood (1%), canned vegetables and fruits (11%) and fresh vegetables (39%) have increased.
However, the revenues of dates remain unchanged compared to last year, despite improvements in quantities exported by 9%, because of the decline in export prices by 7% (4.1 dinars / kg against 4.4 dinars / kg in the same period of 2015).
The value of food exports from January to September 2016 accounts for 9.4% of total exports of goods in the country, against 14.9% in 2015.
Regarding food import, some commodities posted a decrease in their import value given dropping prices internationally, such as sugar (25%) and durum wheat (17%).
The value of food imports accounted for 9% of the country’s overall imports in September 2016, against 9.2% in 2015. The balance of food coverage should reach 72% at the end of
2016, against 98 % in 2015, due to lower food exports by 30% and imports by 5% compared to 2015.