TUNISIA – Tunisia’s fruit export sector has experienced a significant decline in revenue and shipment volumes from January through November 21, 2023. The North African nation saw its export earnings fall to TND 142.4 million, marking an 18% decrease compared to the previous year. The total volume of fruit exports also suffered a stark drop, shrinking from nearly 68 thousand tonnes in November last year to about 38 thousand tonnes currently.

Libya continues to be the largest importer of Tunisian fruits, accounting for 80% of the exports, which equates to 30.7 thousand tonnes. Other countries importing Tunisian fruits include Italy, with a 12.7% share, the UAE at 2.5%, the Netherlands at 1.3%, and Kuwait at 0.8%. Despite the overall downturn, peaches have remained in high demand among importers, with nearly TND 37 million earned from approximately 10,000 tonnes exported. This figure represents a significant portion of Tunisia’s total fruit export revenue. Other notable contributions to the export figures come from pomegranates, watermelons, and apples.

The decline in exports has been attributed to more expensive production costs and adverse weather conditions that have impacted fruit harvests and export logistics. As of today, Libya remains a consistent trading partner for Tunisia despite its own challenges, importing over TND 105.6 million worth of fruits this year.

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In stark contrast, Italy’s imports have seen a considerable decrease both in value and volume, dropping to TND 3.6 million from TND 5.2 million and from a third of last year’s November tonnage down to just around a quarter this year. Meanwhile, the UAE’s purchases amounted to TND 11.5 million for less than a thousand tons.

The Tunisian fruit export industry is grappling with these challenges as it navigates through an economically strained period marked by lower income from one of its key agricultural sectors.

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