The first export of citrus fruits for the season (2016/2017) will start on January 14, 2017, in light of a record production expected to exceed 200 thousand tons for only Maltese oranges, which is causing unrest among farmers.
“This year, we are at 550,000 tons, which is enormous” Mohamed Ali Jandoubi, Director General of the GIF (Inter-professional fruit group) said.
Whilst production is increasing, compared to the 400,000 tons observed on average over the last five years, the sector still has many challenges including the lack of outlets and weak exports. According to the Tunisian agricultural and fishing union, only 10% of harvested oranges are for export and half of the harvest could even be reduced due to a lack of clients.
In order to cope with this situation, the Inter-professional Fruit Grouping (GIF) is working to increase Maltese exports and to regain the export pace of the past years, thanks to the adoption since December 2016, of a diversified promotion program.
Tunisia aims to increase its exports in this area by 10 thousand tons compared to the past season, to bring them from 20 to 30 thousand tons, including 26 thousand tons of Maltese.
This increase in production concerned the different categories of citrus, particularly Maltese, whose production grew 57%, compared with the previous season, to 187 thousand tons.
Jendoubi pointed out that a promotion program has been set up by the GIF, in association with stakeholders (farmers, exporters and importers) to develop the marketing of citrus fruits and encourage the consumption of oranges nationally and their export, particularly to the French, Russian and Algerian markets.