National olive oil production estimated at 100 thousand tonnes (CEO of ONH)
04/01/2017 19:24, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- The national olive oil campaign (2016/2017) comes to an end, and estimates of national production are 100 thousand tonnes, down over 55%, compared to the national average of 180 Thousand tonnes).

The reasons for this decline are mainly the drought recorded last year which had a direct impact on production, Chokri Bayoudh, CEO of the National Oil Office (ONH), said in an interview with TAP Wednesday.

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

Answering a question on the reasons for rising olive oil prices during this campaign, Bayoudh said the drop in domestic production, due to low rainfall last year and the increase of export of Tunisian olive oil that can sometimes reach 80% of the domestic production are behind rising olive oil prices for local consumers.

The export of olive oil, which also started in November 2016 and reached 15 thousand tonnes until mid-December 2016, has also declined. "The forecast for exports is of nearly 70 thousand tonnes for the entire 2016/2017 season, with revenues of up to 60 million dinars.

We are preparing a new vision for the next national campaign, especially after the heavy rainfall recorded this winter, "he said, expressing hope to see domestic production increase and return to its average and its international influence.

He reminded that Tunisia produced 340 thousand tonnes during the national campaign of 2014/2015 and was the world's top olive exporting country and second producing country in the world after Spain. Tunisia is also the second largest exporter to the European Union and ranks fourth among olive oil producing countries.

Concerning packaged olive oil, ONH's CEO said that Tunisia currently exports 20 thousand tonnes of packaged oil, while ten years earlier it exports only 2 thousand tonnes, placing emphasis on the state's commitment to develop its production of packaged olive oil and to promote its export to foreign markets in recent years.

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