The Food trade balance registered a deficit of 307 MD during the first five months of 2016, against a surplus of 183.2 MD during the same period last year, according to latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.
The import-export ratio declined by 79.5% at the end of May 2016, against 110,4% at the end of May 2015, as a result of the fall in exports by 38.8%, although imports dropped also by 15%.
The same statistics show that the value of exports was almost stable (up 0.5%) during the aforementioned period of 2016, excluding revenues of olive oil which reached record levels in 2015.
Exports of food products decreased by 39% during the first five months of the year, following the decline of revenues of olive oil by 66% in terms of value (383 MD in 2016 against 1142 MD in 2015) and 72% in volume (54,300 tonnes against 191,800 tonnes).
The Ministry of Agriculture revealed that the price of olive oil has increased by 18% (7.1 dinars / kg in 2015 against 6 dinars/kg in 2015) in addition to the drop in exports of sea products by 12% due to the decrease in production by 10%, and to the fall in the volume of citrus fruit production (9%) and pasta (17%), during the period aforementioned.
However, other food products increased their exports, like dates that grew by 7% in value and 19% in volume.
This growth affected all the target markets, except North America where the Tunisian exports of dates decreased compared to the last season.
The value of food exports during the first five months of the current year was of 10.2% of the total exports of goods against 16.2% during the same period last year.
However, the value of food imports reached nearly 1,497.9 MD in 2016, falling 15% compared to the same period of 2015, under the effect of the deceleration of import of food commodities, like bread wheat (37%), barley (29%), vegetable oils (8%), sugar (62%).
Imports of certain products such as fresh and frozen seafood and bananas were down 6% and 35%, respectively, as the value of food imports represent 8.9% of the overall Tunisian imports in the first five months of 2016, against 10.6% in the same period last year.