The food trade deficit has dropped by 63% “due to a significant improvement in the coverage rate of imports by exports.”
This rate amounted to 501 million dinars (MD) against 1,354.6 MD in 2017, the Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Ministry said.
According to data provided by the ministry, food exports reached some 4,886 MD in 2018, i.e. a 48.1% rise compared to 2017.
This rise is due to the increase in the quantity of exported olive oil (229.4 thousand tons against 102.8 thousand tons in 2017) with an all-time record of revenues estimated at 2,125 MD against 1,009.4 MD in 2017.
Food imports were estimated at 5,386.8 MD in 2018, i.e. up 15.7% compared with 2017.
This increase is explained by the drop recorded in the exchange rate of the Tunisian dinar compared to foreign currencies and the improvement of the value of imports of some basic food products and the increase of their prices, such as durum wheat (+21%), soft wheat (+28%) and barely (+52%).
Tunisia’s imports also increased due to the 43% and 123% rise of the purchase value of milk and derivatives and red meat, respectively.
Tunisia’s food imports represented 9% of the country’s overall imports in 2018, against 9.3% in 2017, the ministry added.