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PRESS RELEASE: Tunisian olive oil


Three Tunisian olive oil exporting companies were rewarded, Thursday evening in Gammarth, at the third national competition for the “best packaged olive oil” prize, out of 22 participating firms.

Prime Minister Habib Essid chaired the prize-award ceremony. The first prize was awarded to Tunisian food products packaging company “El Jazira,” the second went to “Ulysse” Company for food industry and the third to “El Barka” for agricultural production processing.

The competition, organised by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, aims to highlight the efforts made by companies to promote the olive oil sector.

A logo will be affixed on labels of products of winning companies to value this award among both buyers and end consumers.

The competition involves two oil categories: Strong Fruit flavour and Medium Fruit Flavour.

The prize, awarded to companies operating in the production or export of packaged olive oil is based on two main criteria: quality of oil and packaging.

In his speech, Essid said the overall area dedicated to olive growing has reached 1.8 million hectares in Tunisia, i.e. 2/5 of arable land.

The olive sector has 80 million olive trees and employs 20% of the total number of agricultural jobs.

He noted that “domestic olive oil production is estimated at 180 thousand tonnes, including 70% of extra virgin olive oil whose rate did not exceed 30% in the past.

Tunisia now exports 150 thousand tonnes of olive oil, including 16 thousand tonnes of packaged olive oil. The private sector has generated 90% of the exports since the liberalisation of this activity.”

“Given the fierce competition from such other countries as Morocco, Tunisia is expected to increase the area of groves and intensify olive tree cultivation, especially by introducing irrigated crops that represent currently 1% of this activity and rejuvenate olive trees in concerned regions,” said the Prime Minister.

It is important, according to him, to review the role of the National Oil Office and the relationship between the Ministries of Agriculture and Industry in the marketing of olive oil.

Essid also said “we aim to reach a domestic production of 300 thousand tonnes per year,” noting that Tunisia is still lagging behind in table olives globally though it ranks second in the world in olive oil export.

Minister of Industry Zakaria Hamad said the competition is part of the campaign to promote packaged olive oil conducted by his department and funded by the fund for the promotion of packaged olive oil (French: FOPROHOC).

The desired goal is to encourage olive oil companies and exporters to command good manufacturing and packaging practices and enhance the reputation of Tunisian companies in this field.

Chairman of the trade association of olive oil exporters Abdessalem Loued recommended revising the legislation governing olive oil exports while intensifying post-export control and strengthen the direct support to olive oil packaging and creating a permanent independent structure to frame olive oil exporters.

Tunisia exports 60 to 70% of its olive oil production on average to two European markets, namely Spain and Italy.

Tunisian olive oil exports account for 40% of the overall exports of the agricultural sector and 10% of the total domestic exports.

Some 80 olive oil brands are exported via nearly 40 Tunisian professionals to such markets as the United States, Canada, China, France, Russia and some Arab countries.

According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, nearly 128.5 thousand tonnes of olive oil were exported in the first quarter of 2015. Revenues from olive oil exports have multiplied almost tenfold, from 71.8 MTD in the first quarter of 2014 to 756.1 MTD in the same period of the current year.

First Price: ALJAZIRA Company



Third Price : SETPA Company