Organic sector taking shape, structuring accordingly

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A press conference was organized on Thursday January 23 by the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia (INAT), to announce the official launch of the National Union of Operators of the Organic Sector (UNIbio).

In a statement to Africanmanager, Leith Tlemsani, President of UNIbio said that it is an independent professional union that brings together all farmers, processors and distributors of natural or processed agricultural products and bearing or intended to bear indications referring to the organic production method.

Structuring the organic market

Tlemsani also specified that the objective of this new structure is to contribute to a better structuring of the organic market, particularly in terms of supply and sales channels, to encourage synergy between the various operators in the sector, such as farmers, processors, distributors, including exporters, etc….

It will also seek to help helping farmers to convert to organic farming, ensuring better promotion of Tunisian organic products and limiting the impact of consumption on natural resources (soil, water, biodiversity…).

On another aspect, the president of UNIbio spoke about the difficulties encountered by the Tunisian organic sector.

He said “we have noticed that there is a lack of synergies between the various stakeholders, as well as the absence of a legal framework for the distribution of organic products, which paves the way for fraud, as well as a control of the marketing and use of pesticides in Tunisia, which promotes the use of toxic products prohibited by international standards,” he noted.

He added that “We are convinced that the prospects for the organic sector are enormous. Moreover, at the international level, the organic market represents barely 3% of the global market.

In Tunisia, the share of this market also remains minimal, despite the importance of products such as dates and olive oil. In the world as in Tunisia, the demand is much larger than the supply…” concluded Tlemsani.

60 thousand tons of organic products exported in 2018

The marketing of organic products on the local market is developing in a timid but growing way thanks to the opening of specialized sales outlets in several regions of the country.

According to the data announced by the National Union of Operators of the Organic Sector, in Tunisia, the organic areas reached 336 thousand ha in 2018. 60 thousand tons of organic products were exported in 2018 with a value of about 677 million dinars.

However, the organic sector in Tunisia remains 99% dominated by two essential products, namely olive oil (80%) and dates (19%).

It should be noted that organic agriculture is a production method that uses farming and breeding practices that respect natural balances.

It therefore excludes the use of synthetic chemicals (pesticides and chemical fertilizers), GMOs and limits the use of inputs.

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