Russian agricultural exports increased in Tunisia by 6 times – in January-July 2021, Russia exported 428 thousand tons of foodstuffs to Tunisia in the amount of $ 112 million.In physical terms, the volume increased 4.5 times compared to the same period last year, in value terms – 6 times.
The leading position in the structure of shipments is occupied by barley. For seven months of 2021, 330 thousand tons of grain were exported to the North African country (4.2 times more than in January-July 2020) worth $ 76 million (5.1 times more). Tunisia resumed purchases of barley from Russia in January 2020 after a more than 2-year hiatus, and this year, according to the FCS, is the second buyer of Russian barley after Saudi Arabia.
Due to the good harvest in 2020, as well as the reorientation of Ukrainian supplies to China, Russian barley turned out to be quite competitive in the Tunisian market, and at present it is of interest to Russian exporters due to both the pricing environment and convenient logistics.
Also, in 2021, Russia supplied to Tunisia 17 thousand tons of soybean oil in the amount of 18 million dollars and 70 thousand tons of wheat for 17 million dollars, while last year in the same period, supplies of these types of agricultural products were not carried out.
Export of molasses to Tunisia decreased in physical terms by 17% to 10 thousand tons, but in value terms – increased by 30% to 1.5 million dollars. In this regard, the Republic is currently among the top 5 buyers of molasses from Russia.
In addition, the top five food categories exported from Russia to Tunisia include confectionery products, of which 69 tons (-21%) were delivered in the amount of $ 161 thousand (-16%). All this volume was accounted for by chocolate products.
Tunisia is a state in northern Africa with a population of about 12 million people. The World Bank classifies the country as a lower-middle-income country (in 2020, the country’s GDP was estimated at $ 39 billion). At the same time, the food market of Tunisia is widely involved in world trade: according to statistics from the ITC Trade Map, in 2020, the export of agricultural products of the country amounted to $ 1.7 billion, imports – $ 2 billion.The republic sells abroad olive oil, fruits and vegetables, fish , seafood and a number of other products, the leading position in imports is occupied by wheat, soybeans, corn, barley, sugar and soybean oil. The leading exporters of food products and agricultural raw materials to Tunisia last year were Ukraine with a share of 18%, Brazil (11%), the USA (10%), Spain (7.5%), France (6.4%).
In the 2020/21 season, grain crops in Tunisia were hit by dry weather. As a result, according to the USDA, the gross harvest of wheat fell by 28% to 1 million tons, barley – almost 2 times to 465 thousand tons, which is about a third of the domestic consumption of each crop. Domestic soybean oil production is estimated to supply about half of domestic demand. Soybean oil is the leader in terms of imports among vegetable oils, although the country is striving to develop domestic processing of oilseeds based on imported raw materials.
In general, the food sector in Tunisia has 1.2 thousand companies, of which about 20% work exclusively for export. Before the pandemic, the country was annually visited by up to 8 million tourists, largely due to which the catering sector was actively developing. Also, modern retail formats are expanding in the Republic, which accounted for about 22% of sales in 2019.
According to the Federal Center “Agroexport”, by 2030 Russian exports of agricultural products to Tunisia may exceed $ 300 million. The main commodity items with potential are cereals (barley, wheat, corn), as well as soybean and sunflower oil. Russia also has prospects to increase the supply of frozen fish, molasses, dried legumes, and confectionery.
The market of North African countries, including Tunisia, is an important sales channel for Russian grain exporters. Russia is successfully competing in this direction – in addition to Tunisia, regular supplies of barley are carried out to Libya, wheat is bought by Egypt, Morocco, Algeria.
The markets of North African states are also interesting for producers of fat and oil products. “In recent years, Russia has been strengthening its position as an exporter of fat and oil products, expanding the geography and range of products supplied. Tunisia is logistically close, which is an important advantage over other soybean processors, including those from Latin America. At one time, Russian companies opened this market, and with an increase in soybean processing, the share of Russian soybean oil supplies to the North African markets, including Tunisia, will grow, ”said Ilya Ilyushin, an independent expert. He expects the start of supplies of sunflower oil, which may occur already in the current season: “Given the record harvest in the main production
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