The Tunisian fruit and vegetable market is one of the strategic sectors of the country's economy. In 2014-2015, Tunisia produced 3 million metric ton of vegetables, 325,000 metric ton of tomatoes, 440,000 metric ton of citrus, and 223,000 metric ton of dates. Tunisian agriculture is of vital importance, as it contributes to 12.6% of the GDP. Olives, dates, and fresh fruits are grown for both international and domestic consumption. Agricultural produce contributes to 6% of the total export earnings in the region. Tunisia is the second-largest exporter of organic products, which mainly include olive, date, vegetable, aromatic and medicinal plants, and vines. About 80% of the Tunisian organic produce is exported, and it is the only African country that has the recognition of equivalence with the EU and Switzerland, pertaining to organic agriculture.
Key Market Trends
Export of Fruits and Vegetables
The exceptionally dry climate of Tunisia contributes to a very low incidence of aflatoxin in the dried fruits and, thereby, it has made the country one of the major exporters of dried fruits in that region. The geography and the proximity to large international markets, like the European, and the Middle-East and North African (MENA) regions have made Tunisia the gateway for other African countries. Minimum support price, market liberalization, enhanced rural transport infrastructure, and incentives for investment are also driving the fruit and vegetable market in Tunisia. In 2017, Tunisia exported around 267,459 MT of fruits and 54,883 MT of vegetables to Morocco and Italy, respectively, which was a 0.12% and 11.12% increase, with the fruit export dominating the export market during the forecast period. Morocco, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain are some of the major importers of the Tunisian fruits, whereas Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany are the major importers of Tunisian vegetables.
Vegetable Production Dominates the Market
Tunisia leads in the production of vegetables compared to fruits, which accounted for 3,071,609 MT in 2018, which was a 2.25% increase when compared to the production volume in 2017. Fruit production in 2018 accounted for 2,102,081 MT, which was a 4.01% decrease in the volume when compared to the production in 2017. Tomatoes, onion, chili, pepper, carrots, pumpkins, and cucumber are some of the vegetables grown majorly in the region, among which, tomatoes and potatoes are the important comestibles of Tunisians. The production of vegetables in the region has been significantly increasing in recent years, showing growth in production.
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