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Tunisia Wheat, Barley Revised Downwards

02 May 2013
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

TUNISIA - The Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture has revised total planted area for wheat and barley for market year (MY) 2013/14 down to 1.13 million hectare, including 662,000 hectares (HA) of wheat and 457,000 HA of barley.

The downward revision was due to 370,000 HA not being planted due to insufficient rainfall. However abundant and well distributed precipitation from mid-January to end of March will benefit the crop.

Post estimates that total cereal production for MY2013/2014 will be around 1.50 million MT with wheat production estimated at 1.15 million MT and barley production estimated at 350,000 MT.

In MY2012/13, Tunisia’s total cereal production was officially announced at 2.2 million MT while Post and other analysts estimate it at 1.8 million MT.

Tunisia’s official estimates are usually a source of controversy and contested by farmers and agricultural experts. Tunisia has one of the highest rates of per capita consumption for wheat in North Africa, estimated at 258 kg/year with total wheat consumption at around 2.8 million MT per year. Wheat consumption is expected to remain high for the next few years.

Post estimates Tunisia’s barley and corn consumption at about 850,000 tons per year for each product.

Tunisian wheat imports in MY 2012/13 are expected to reach 1.7 million MT, an increase of 4.7 per cent compared to wheat imports in MY 2011/12. Shipments from Russia, Ukraine, France and Italy accounted for the majority of Tunisia’s wheat imports.

Tunisia’s wheat imports from the US, primarily durum wheat imported by private millers, totaled 20,000 MT in MY 2012/13, representing about 1 per cent market share.

Barley imports will reach, in MY 2012/13, 405,000 MT, up from 287,000 MT in MY 2011/12 with Russia and Argentina dominating 70 per cent market share.

Tunisia’s total corn imports in MY 2012/13 will be around 917,000 MT, 12.2 per cent more than the quantity imported in MY2011/12 (817,000 MT). US corn exports to Tunisia declined dramatically to 5,000 MT in 2012, down from 109,000 MT in 2011 mostly because of highly competitive prices offered by Tunisia’s main exporters, including Argentina and the Black Sea suppliers.

The Government of Tunisia (GOT) continues to implement its strategy to boost cereal production that started in 2008. In 2012, GOT revised farm-gate prices for wheat and barley according to international prices and local conditions.

Through its cereals office, the government continues to control wheat imports by issuing tenders to international traders with import criteria based mostly on price considerations

TheCropSite News Desk



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