Following a disappointing season last year resulting in a production of only 140,000 tons, the upcoming harvest in Tunisia looks to be promising, Olive Oil Times reports in an article on Tunisian olive harvest.
Projected figures are even suggesting a record yield. Recently the Tunisian minister of agriculture, Samir Taieb, announced predictions of a yield of 350,000 tons.
This would maintain Tunisia”s position as one of the world’s top producers and perhaps even put it in second place, the same source said, adding that the 2014/2015 season, Tunisia was the second-largest producer after Spain with a record harvest of 340,000 tons, the same source said.
Over the past few years, Tunisia’s average yield has amounted to 185,000 tons, a figure the government would like to boost to at least 230,000 tons a year. But during the last season, production had fallen to 140,000 tons, with 117,000 tons exported.
Tunisian olive oils have gained notoriety on the world stage for their quality, earning 17 awards at the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
The head of the Office National de l’Huile (ONH), Chokri Bayoudh, has said that the ONH has been examining measures to provide support in order to boost quality and production, thus improving the market for exporters and producers.
The sporadic rains over the past few months have been a blessing for many olive producers in Tunisia. Inadequate rainfall is one of their biggest challenges, but this year olive trees are thriving and their branches are hanging heavy with drupes as summer slowly makes way for autumn and the harvest season.
Toukaber, the landscape of rolling hills is a lush green, a rare sight in October.
“The average annual rainfall is about 400 millimetres but we’ve had 600 millimetres so far,” Meher Ben Ismail, of Réserve Familiale Ben Ismail, told Olive Oil Times. “Rain is of course very important for our olive trees, especially since we don’t irrigate and depend entirely on rainfall. Temperatures have also been good lately and our trees are full of olives.”
“Our Chetoui olives are just starting to change colour,” he added, referring to the varietal grown here in the north and known for its intense character. “We follow the early harvest method and usually start harvesting by the first of November, but this year it looks like we’ll begin at the end of October, so more or less at the usual time. Last year, we harvested earlier because it was a very hot and dry summer, but unfortunately, the quality was not great. Of course, the weather has a big influence on quality.”
TunisianMonitorOnline (Source: Olive Oil Times)