Food balance deficit widens to 728.5 MD (1st half of 2017) | Tunisia News Gazette

Food balance deficit widens to 728.5 MD (1st half of 2017)

The food balance deficit reached 728.5 million dinars (MD) in the first half of 2017 (representing 9.7% of the trade deficit), compared with 367.6 MD during the same period in 2016, according to the latest data published by the Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Ministry.

The coverage rate of the food trade balance dropped by 68.5% from January to June 2017, compared to 79.4% in the same period in 2016.

This drop was the result of a significant increase in the value of imports of basic products by 29.8%, while exports rose slightly by 12%.

12% increase in food exports

In the first half of 2017, exports of food products grew by 12%, due to the significant 12% increase in the receipts of dates, the value of sales to 70 countries reached 347 MD in addition to price improvement by 27%.

The same upward trend was also observed in seafood (+ 62%), pasta (+ 8%) and fresh vegetables (+ 25%), in particular tomatoes produced in projects using geothermal water.

The summer fruits’ export value in the first half of the year reached 32 MD, up 20% compared to the previous season.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Tunisia exported about 5.3 thousand tons of watermelons, 95% of which was sold on the French and Italian markets.

The country also exported other fruits like peaches (about 3,400 tons) and apricots (1,700 tons).

However, exports of other food products declined during this period, as did olive oil whose value fell by 3% (431 MD compared to 443 MD).

The quantities of exported olive oil edged down by 24% to reach 47 thousand tons in the first half of 2017, compared with 62 thousand tons in the same period in 2016.

Exports of citrus fruits and canned fish also fell by 9% and 19%, respectively, in spite of the development of local production in the country.

In the first half of 2017, the value of food exports reached 9.8% of the total Tunisian exports compared to 10% during the same period in 2016.

Imports reached 2,310.9 MD, an increase of 29.8% compared to the first half of 2016. This growth is explained by the increase in the rate of acquisition of basic foodstuffs during this period, in addition to the rise in the world market prices and the fall in the Tunisian dinar’s exchange rate against foreign currencies.

These basic food products include sugar (318 MD against 99MD), vegetable oils (+ 102%), red meat (8.8MD against 1.4MD).

To a lesser extent, soft wheat (+ 20%) and maize (+ 27%) were the most important.

It should be noted that products that are not classified as basic also saw an increase in imports, such as bananas (7%) and canned fish (+ 20%) and various food preparations (+16%).

On the other hand, other food products recorded a decline in the value of their imports during this period, such as potatoes (32%), due to a decline in imported quantities by 48% and local production, in addition to the stable value of imports of barley and durum wheat.

In the first half of 2017, the value of food imports recorded 9.8% of the country’s total imports, compared with 8.8% in the same period in 2016.

Source: TAP News Agency

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