Tunisia’s flagship product, olive oil will be officially labelled from 2016, Director at the Technical Centre of Food Industry (CTAA) Narjes El Hammar said on Thursday.
Speaking at a national seminar on olive oil held in Tunis, she added that the label will allow a better valuation of the olive growing sector and bring greater added value to the Tunisian product.
It will also provide a comprehensive traceability system so as to impose the application of regulations and strengthen the confidence of olive oil consumers and buyers.
El Hammar noted that specifications and all empowerment and control procedures on this label have been tested in the campaign 2014-2015.
To be competitive on a highly aggressive market, the valuation of the olive oil sector has to be based on olive oil’s differentiation and designation of origin, she said.
Chokri Bayoudh, officer at the Directorate General of Agricultural Production (DGPA), Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries said a plan has been developed for the period 2016-2020 to promote the olive and olive oil sector.
The main objectives of this plan include increasing olive oil production to 230 thousand tonnes annually by 2020 (i.e. up 25%) and expanding olive groves to nearly 100 thousand hectares, including 25 thousand hectares of irrigated crops.
The plan to promote the olive and olive oil sector also aims to enhance the added value of olive oil exports through packaging and diversification of products to reach 20 thousand tonnes of packaged olive oil annually.
Minister of Industry, Zakaria Hamad reported a decrease in domestic olive oil production in this season (compared to the previous season) to 150 thousand tonnes, stressing the need
to strengthen the presence of this product on external markets through promotion and marketing operations.
Tunisia became the world’s second olive oil producer in the campaign 2014-2015 behind Spain with a production of 350 thousand tonnes.
It was also the top exporter of this product in the world, overtaking Spain and Italy with exports of 311 thousand tonnes, including 20 thousand tonnes of packaged olive oil.
Revenues from these exports reached 2,000 thousand dinars.