18.9 C
London
Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeEconomyTunisia Achieves Bumper Olive Oil Harvest Due to New Production Methods

Tunisia Achieves Bumper Olive Oil Harvest Due to New Production Methods

Tunisian Agricultural Minister Abdelmonem Belati says that the olive oil industry must take advantage of high export prices to capitalise on a bumper harvest.

- Advertisement -spot_img

Tunisian Agricultural Minister Abdelmonem Belati says that the olive oil industry must take advantage of high export prices to capitalise on a bumper harvest.

Byline Ofeoritse Daibo

Olive oil production rebounded in the 2024 crop year after olive oil farmers producers overcame harsh conditions to produce an excellent crop harvest.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, olive oil production in Tunisia reached 220,000 tons in the 2023/24 crop year and its Minister Abdelmonem Belati says that the sector must work together to export the extra virgin olive oil quickly to take advantage of high olive oil export prices.

Tunisia’s National Observatory of Agriculture (Onagri) report on its annual olive oil production says exports nearly doubled from the 12 months ending February 2024 compared to the year before. Olive Oil represented 64 percent of all agricultural exports.

According to the report, the recorded decline in the national budget deficit is essentially the result of the increase in olive oil exports.

Belati’s efforts are part of a broader scheme from officials and producers to increase exports of individually packaged bottles of extra virgin olive oil and shift away from the prevailing paradigm of exporting in bulk to the European Union.

“Producers overcame high temperatures and enduring drought to achieve a substantial production rebound, significantly exceeding last year’s yield of 180,000 tons but falling slightly below the five-year average,” says Belati.

The strong crop exceeded initial expectations in October when producers and officials estimated production would reach 200,000 to 220,000 tons.

Olivko Founder Karim Fitouri attributed the increase in production to the sector’s rapid modernization.

His five-year-old olive grove stretches across forty and comprises 146,000 olive trees planted at super-high density. Fitouri says that this approach is the future of Tunisian production.

“The aim is to produce more olives faster and with less exposure to climatic changes, unlike traditional methods where yields can alternate from 20 to 100 percent from one year to the next,” says Fitouri.

Fitouri says that the Government’s efforts to improve milling infrastructure, which allows producers to mill olives within two hours of the harvest, has also helped to improve the quality of the final product.

“Production in Tunisia has become more sophisticated. It is up to date. There are more than 1,700 mills in the country, most of which have the latest technology, and traditional mills are becoming less prevalent. Some of these mills are large enough to hold a daily capacity of around 1,000 tons. There’s been a huge change in the sector in the past five years,” says Fitouri.

However, Fitouri believes that the lack of recognition from international consumers remains a significant impediment to achieving this goal.

He believes producers must exploit the country’s role as the world’s largest organic olive oil producer to catch the imagination of consumers in the lucrative North American and East Asian markets.

“Tunisia is getting there,” he said. “It needs to have the vision to promote itself through greater investment in packaging and marketing to showcase the soil, variety and ancient trees.”

Commenting on the brand perception, Fitouri says that it’s imperative that Tunisia markets its olive oil as a single origin product, to reflect the high quality of its produce.

“Improving the image and place of olive oil within Tunisia could benefit the entire country, whereas exporting oil cheaply to Europe, which then gets bottled and sold as a ‘European blend,’ benefits very few people,” says Fitouri. concluded.

Notes from the Editor: This feature was edited from its original publication here

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Stay Connected

1,000FollowersFollow

Must Read

- Advertisement -spot_img

Related News

- Advertisement -spot_img

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here