The EBRD and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have joined forces to expand Tunisia’s olive sector. The priorities are to boost productivity, initiate policy dialogue, introduce new technology and help producers differentiate and raise awareness of their products. These joint efforts will complement the EBRD’s current investment activities in the sector.
Tunisia saw a bumper harvest of olives in 2014, with production estimated at twice that of 2013. This will strengthen the country’s position on olive oil markets. It is the third-largest exporter of olive oil in the world, after Spain and Italy, and the sector accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s agricultural exports. However, globally consumers are unaware of this as Tunisian olive oil is mainly sold in bulk and blended with oil from other countries.
Far more value could be added to the sector if Tunisia could develop its image as producer of quality olive oil and sell a larger part of its production as bottled oil.
This would require considerable efforts at the production level as olive orchards are often old and poorly maintained and yields are low.
To tackle such issues, a stronger organisation of the value chain is needed, with clearer roles assigned to both the public and the private sector.