Food processing industries
The Tunisian fruit juice industry took off only very recently, since Tunisians have traditionally consumed carbonated drinks. The first manufacturers of fruit juices were canners who processed fruit juices in small metal cans. Its share in agrofood production remains very weak, just 20 million TND in 2004 (0.3%), with added value at about 6.6 million TND (33%). It accounts for 3% of beverages in terms of volume. The main products in 2004 were juice-based drinks, nectars, 100% juice and processed concentrated drinks.
The canned food branch holds a major position in the agribusiness sector. Indeed, it contributes in:
- valorising a significant part of the agricultural production;
- ensuring regular supply of the local market with such basic products as tomato purée (Double Concentrate) and chilly sauce (harissa);
- developing exports in matter of food products, in general, and tomato purée and frozen sea products, in particular.
The Pasta branch uses semolina, as a main material, a primary processing product of the milling trade (Semolina making - Flour milling).
- ordinary passed, based exclusively on semolina;
- special pasta, such as enhanced pasta and egg-enriched pasta.
The pasta manufacture lines comprise dedicated lines for long pasta, for short pasta and for special pasta.
The pasta manufacture process consists in kneading, extrusion and drying operations.
The products made are as follows:
Industrial couscous, known as “quick couscous” in view of it being considered as pre-cooked, is obtained by mechanical rolling, pre-cooking and drying. It is made in lines separate from pasta lines.
Milling concerns two principal activities: flour milling and semolina processing.
- Semolina manufacturing units transform hard wheat (triticum durum) for the production of semolina destined for the manufacture of pastas and couscous.
- Flour mills grind soft wheat (triticum vulgare) for the production of flour for bread making.
For a long time Tunisia was one of the rare countries of the world to have developed its dairy goods sector based on the reconstitution of imported powdered milk. Milk transformation units were public state enterprises and fresh milk was not processed industrially.
The spectacular turning point began in the 1990s with the launching of the production of sterilized milk from fresh milk processed and packaged in PEHD bottles.
Currently the milk branch in Tunisia is required to face a new challenge fundamentally qualitative in nature.
The study provides above all the diagnostic of the “Organic Food Goods” branch which is comprised of 246 operations that are certified by international certification organisms accredited by the European Union and which account for an estimated 17000 hectares under organic cultivation.
With the exception of the oil culture branch, transformation is essentially limited to conditioning. Currently there are 19 Transformers-Conditioners of which 8 are olive transformers and 6 are date conditioners. In the wine making branch, one producer is certified “Organic”.
Organic olive oil production output for the 2001-2002 season was a reported 1580 tons of which 340 tons were exported.
Organic date production for the 2001-2002 season reached 1 730 tons of which 580 tons were exported to the European Union market (Germany, Belgium, and France).
Following benchmarking of the branch in Tunisia was conducted to determine the positioning of Tunisia in comparison to 3 reference countries: Italy, Germany, and France.
The strategic option for the development of the “Organic Food Goods” branch relies on the production of superior quality organic products, the creation of an image, guaranteed by its credibility, in order to consolidate Tunisia’s position within the international market.
The study has resulted in the establishment of an action plan through to 2006 and features the identification of profitable niches and project proposals for ground-level opportunities in the branch
Dates constitute one of the leading exports of the Food Processing Sector. During the period 1990-1999, the value of date exports reached 12% of total sector exports, representing an average annual value of 50 million dinars. Over 80% of dates exported are the Deglet Nour (DN) variety.
The study contains a diagnosis of the olive oil processing branch, which is comprised of 1 440 olive oil processing units, 60 private sector exporters, 12 extraction units for olive pits, and 24 olive oil packaging units. Tunisia exports annually on average 112,000 tons of olive oil, representing 70% of overall olive oil production, and is ranked number 4 among exporting olive oil countries after Spain, Italy and Greece.
In the context of the benchmarking of 10 criteria specific to the branch, the sector in Tunisia is compared to those in 3 different countries: Spain, Italy and Greece.
The study includes the objectives to be realized by the year 2008, an overview of the action plan, and proposed project files.
The study provides an assessment of partnership within the agribusiness sector and proposes an action plan for the promotion of partnership with the member countries of the European Union.