Tunisia, world's 32nd largest exporter of essential oils, still imports aromatic oils (Ministry of Agriculture) | Tunisia News Gazette

Tunisia, world’s 32nd largest exporter of essential oils, still imports aromatic oils (Ministry of Agriculture)

Tunisia which ranks 32nd worldwide as a country exporting extracted oils of aromatic and medicinal plants, still imports aromatic oils, said chief of staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries Boubaker Karay.

Taking the floor on Thursday at a national seminar on “aromatic and medicinal plants: a breeding ground for value creation and decent employment,” the official said that the Tunisian flora includes 2,162 species, against 35 thousand species in the world. Medicinal and aromatic plants contribute up to 1% of the value of food exports providing about 260 thousand work days a year, he specified.

The medicinal and aromatic forest plants occupy an area of about 409 thousand hectares, against 4,550 hectares devoted to planted species (20 varieties), including 1,396 hectares of medicinal plants and 3,154 hectares of aromatic plants.

Research conducted as part of the valorisation of bio-resources in arid and semi-arid areas for regional development project, financed by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), revealed that several varieties of Tunisian plants contain organic substances having important therapeutic, aesthetic or nutritional powers.

Tunisian-Japanese patents for invention have proven the effectiveness of these substances extracted from several Tunisian plants against several diseases such as cancer, cholesterol, stress, obesity and diabetes.

During the seminar, organised at the initiative of the Agricultural Training and Orientation Agency in co-operation with the International Labour Office (ILO), the official also called for the upgrading of legislation to promote collective action (within networks), to improve the quality of the product which must obtain the certificate of accreditation to access the domestic and foreign markets thanks to competitive prices.

Source: TAP News Agency

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