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Tunisia: food balance slides back into deficit

The food balance deficit has reached 367.6 MTD in H1 2016, i.e. a 6.1% of the trade deficit, against a surplus of 314.4 MTD in the same period last year according to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.

Similarly, the food balance coverage rate dropped to 79.4% from January to June 2016 against 116% during the same period last year. This fall is due to a significant decline in the value of exports by 38.2%, while imports fell by only 9.6%.

Food exports in H1 2016 dropped 38% as a result of the significant fall in olive oil revenues (-66%, i.e. 443 MTD against 1 288MTD in 2015) and volume (62 thousand tons against 214 thousand tons last year) despite a 19% price rise (7.2 TD/kg against 6D/kg in 2015).

In addition, the value of fresh and frozen seafood exports edged down 13% due to a 14% fall in production. Citrus fruit and pasta showed the same downward trend with a respective decline of -5% and -15%.

Exports of other products, such as dates, edged up with sales worth 306 MTD (12% of which are organic dates) to 70 countries.

Similarly, the value of exported fresh vegetables increased 23%, including tomatoes (16.7 thousand tons against 8. 900 in 2015), potatoes (3.055 tons against 406) and canned fish (+ 6%).

Food imports dropped to 1 780.2 MTD in H1 2016, i.e. a fall of 9.6% in comparison with last year. This drop is due to the deceleration in the pace of importation when it comes to some basic foodstuffs like barley (-15%), vegetable oils (-11%), sugar (50%), durum wheat (-26%) and soft wheat (-8%).

However, the value of imports of some food products increased. This is the case for maize (6%), canned fish (109%) and bananas (49%).

The value of food imports accounts for 8.8% of overall imports in the first half of 2016 against 9.6% during the same period in 2015.


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