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Tunisian olive oil output to fall below average

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Staff Writer | January 5, 2017
With the 2016/2017 crop ending, the output of Tunisian olive oil will reach 100,000 tons, a volume 55% below the national average of 180,000 tons.
Tunisian olive oil
Crops in Africa   The drop in local production
The main reason for the lower volume was last year’s drought, which had a direct impact in production, said Chokri Bayoudh, CEO of the Tunisian National Office for Olive Oil (ONH), in an interview to TAP (Tunis Afrique Presse).

“80% of the domestic olive oil production comes mainly from the irrigated sector, which saved this campaign, started in November 2016 and expected to be completed by the end of January 2017,” he said.

Bayoudh said that the drop in local production due to the lack of rain and the increase in exports, which account for 80% of the total produced by the country, drove up the prices in the domestic market.

Olive oil exports by Tunisia, which started in November and reached 15,000 tons in December, also declined. “The forecast for exports is of nearly 70,000 tons for the entire 2016/2017 season, with revenues of up to TND 60 million (USD 25.70 million).

“We are preparing a new vision for the next national campaign, especially after the heavy rainfall recorded this winter,” he said, with the hope of seeing local production increase and return to its average and international influence.

He pointed out that Tunisia produced 340,000 tons during the 2014/2015 crop, when the country was the top olive oil export in the world and the second largest producer, being topped only by Spain.

Tunisia is also the second largest exporter to the European Union and ranks among the world’s four largest producers.