Tunisia Looks For Foreign Investment In Organics
The role of Tunisia’s Agricultural Investments Promotion Agency (APIA), to promote investment in Tunisian agriculture, is perhaps more crucial now than ever. Neighboring Libya’s descent into unruly chaos has resulted in a marked decline in overall exports from Tunisia, according to the ministry of agriculture. Exports fell by 25 per cent during the 2016/17 season compared with the year before, although revenues still managed to increase by 13 per cent to US$75m.
“We aim to drive foreign direct investment into the sector,” confirms Rachid Belanes of APIA, “as well as into technology and trade. “In Tunisia, we produce a wide variety of produce, including dates, olive oil, tomatoes, artichokes, apricots, pomegranates, citrus and potatoes.”
From FruitNet. Story by Tom Joyce.
According to Belanes, Tunisia benefits from earlier production than in Europe thanks to its climate, while efforts are also being made to minimize production costs. “Our climate means that we arrive on the market earlier than Spain and France,” he says. “We also heat our greenhouses with water from beneath the desert. This decreases costs for our producers to help them to compete with exporters in Spain, Egypt and Morocco.”
In the absence of the Libyan market, Tunisia’s exports go to 20 different markets, including Japan, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Europe. “The Middle East is a good market for our pomegranates, olive oil and dates,” says Belanes. “We send direct to these markets. For the Gulf, we send by airfreight, for Russia by ship, and for Europe by both methods.”
For dates and olive oil, Tunisia boasts a sizeable production of organics. “We want to produce more organics,” states Belanes. “There are good opportunities for organic production in Tunisia. We are able to produce very naturally in Tunisia, so the switch to organic is quite easy for growers.”
Read more at FruitNet.
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