The food deficit reached 1,090.6 million Tunisian dinars (MTD) (MTD) in 2012 against 702 MD in 2011, Mnasri Belgacem, Director General of Agricultural Studies and Development (Department of Agriculture) told TAP.
The coverage rate stood at 65.4% against 75.2% for the year 2011. This decrease is explained by an increase in food imports by 11.6%, while the growth rate of exports decreased by 2.9%.
The official said that the increase in the value of food imports is due to the accelerated pace of the import of some food commodities. These include durum wheat imports which were up 7% (573,000 tons against 524,300 tons) and those of barley, which rose 84% (385,000 tons against 237,500 tons).
Regarding the “milk and derivatives,” 21.5 thousand tons with a value of 82 MTD were imported during the year 2012, posting an increase of 27% compared to 2011 (17,100 tons).
The value of food imports, as such, represented 8.2% of the country’s overall imports during the year 2012, against 8.4% in 2011.
With regard to exports, those of olive oil jumped by 47%. They are estimated at about 160, 100 tons, with a value of 593.2 MD.
Exports of dates stood at 101,100 tons (344.4 MTD) and were sent to more than 60 countries, mainly Morocco, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
In contrast, exports of sea products fell 16%, or 17,000 tons for a value of 213 MTD against 21,600 tons in 2011 (253.5 MTD).
The decline in exports of citrus, meanwhile, was at 17% from 24 thousand tons to 18,500 tons.
Mnasri Belgacem stated that the value of food exports thus accounted for 7.7% of the overall exports in 2012, against 8.4% the previous year.