Increase of 20 to 30% in olive oil production (2017/2018 season) | Tunisia News Gazette

Increase of 20 to 30% in olive oil production (2017/2018 season)

In the new 2017/2018 season, olive oil production will increase by 20 to 30% compared to the previous two seasons, said on Tuesday CEO of the National Oil Board (ONH ) Chokri Bayoudh, recalling that the new season will start as of the month of November 2017.

Speaking at a press conference held prior to the start of the first meeting of the National Commission to organise and monitor the progress of the olive harvest season, Bayoudh promised that the harvest would exceed production levels recorded over the last five years, which has been around 190 thousand tonnes.

The official, however, refrained from presenting figures on the harvest, specifying that the final forecast would be announced next October, pending the arrival of the first rains in September.

According to Bayoudh, Tunisian exports of olive oil, during the 2017/2018 season, will exceed 200 thousand tonnes.

He also said that Tunisia will enter new promising markets, in this case Canada, the USA, China, Russia and India.

In the same context, he said that Tunisia is endeavouring to gradually move away from traditional European markets, including Spain and Italy.

Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Samir Taieb reiterated the importance of exporting olive oil and its role in the development of the country and the strengthening of foreign currency reserves.

The annual average of olive oil exports over the last ten years reached 45 thousand tonnes, i.e. 80% of the national production, with revenues of around 850 million dinars (MD).

“At the end of July 2017, exports of olive oil reached some 71, 617 tonnes, resulting in revenues of around 679.338 MD, against exports of 78,336 tonnes with revenues of 590.480 MD, during the same period of 2016, “said the Minister.

As regards the increase in the selling prices of olive oil in Tunisia, the minister said that higher prices are due to the drop in production (about 100 thousand tonnes, including 70, 000 tonnes exported).

In this context, he said that his department has already intervened twice, to incite the private sector and ONH to lower prices, from 11 and 12 dinars to 8 and 9 dinars per litre.

Taieb estimated that olive oil prices will fall this year, given the abundance of the harvest.

In addition, the minister expressed his apprehensions about thefts threatening the olive harvest, stressing that his department is coordinating with the two Ministries of Interior and Defence to deal with this phenomenon.

He also indicated that the Ministry has trained a significant number of young people in the field of olive harvesting in order to solve the problem of labour shortages.

The meeting of the National Commission for the organisation and monitoring of the olive harvesting process set up since 2009, is part of the fulfilment of the role played by this structure in order to achieve success of the season at the production level and processing, in addition to examining export prospects, in the presence of several ministries, including defence, interior, trade unions and professionals.

Tunisia occupies the second place in terms of area devoted to olive plantations after Spain. These areas cover 1.8 million hectares and include more than 86 million olive trees.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s indicators, the olive sector is the main activity for about 309 thousand farms, equivalent to 60% of the total number of farms in Tunisia.

Source: TAP NEWs Agency

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