The food trade balance has generated a surplus of 184.1 million Tunisian dinars (MTD) from January to April 2015, against a deficit of 616 MTD in the same period in 2014.
The rate of coverage of the food balance recorded an improvement by 114% in the first 4 months of 2015 against 51% in the same period in 2014, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
While food imports increased by 7.7%, exports soared 139.8%, as revenues from olive oil exports have increased eightfold (from 104.2 MTD to 928.4 MTD).
Exports have increased from 19,100 tons to 157,500 tons and olive oil prices were up by 8% compared to last year. In addition, exports of dates grew by 38% and those of citrus fruits went up 15%. Similarly sales of preparations of vegetables and fruits have doubled from 9 MTD to 30.2 MTD.
However, exports of fresh and frozen seafood and fresh vegetables posted decreases of 12% and 10%.
The value of food exports accounted for 15.8% of the country’s overall exports in the first four months of 2015, against 7% in the same period in 2014.
As for imports of food products, the Ministry of Agriculture explained this increase (+ 7.7%) by the rise in purchases of certain commodities such as durum wheat (28%), barley (16%), maize (65%) and potatoes (81%).
However, other imports posted declines like wheat (-8%), milk and its derivatives (-32%) and meat (-56%).
Food imports accounted for 10.2% of the total imports in the first four months of 2015, against 9.2% during the same period in 2014.