The food trade balance recorded a deficit of 295.2 million dinars (11.7% of the trade deficit) in the first two months of 2017, compared with 102.6 million dinars in the same period of 2016.
The coverage rate of exports by imports decreased to 63% in January and February 2017, compared with 80.6% in 2016. This situation is the result of a significant increase in the value of food imports by 51%, in particular while exports went up only 18.1%.
The value of food imports in the first two months of 2017 reached the equivalent of 798.1 MTD.
Their sharp increase is explained by the change in the pace of purchases of most basic food products during this period and the rise in their world prices, at a time when the Tunisian dinar exchange rate is deteriorating compared to international currencies.
These products include soft wheat (99 MTD versus 22 MTD), barley (+ 31%), vegetable oils (+ 104%), sugar (152.5 MTD compared to 15.6 MTD). This is also due to changes in the pace of other non-basic food products such as bananas (+ 64%), food preparations (23 MTD versus 7 MTD) and canned fish (8.6 MTD versus 2 MTD).
Regarding foodstuffs whose import value declined, potatoes (-22%) and meats (-50%) were the main items.
The Ministry of Agriculture also indicated that the value of food imports in the first months of 2017 accounted for 11.2% of the country’s total imports, compared with 9.2% during the same period of 2016.
In terms of exports, Tunisia mainly exported dates with revenues up by 76% to 128 million thanks to improvement of exports by 34% and prices by 32%, as well as vegetables and fruit preparations (+ 26%), seafood (+ 10%) and to a lesser extent citrus fruits (+ 1%).
On the other hand, exports of olive oil fell by 18% in value to 143 MTD and by 35% in terms of quantity to 16.4 thousand tons.
Domestic sales of fresh vegetables and canned goods decreased by 2%, and 24%, respectively.
The value of food exports during the first two months of 2017 accounted for 10.8% of the overall export of goods compared with 9.6% during the same period of 2016.