Olives, olive oil and dates in Tunisia

Tunisia is a country of agriculture. Most of the country industry is focused on treating yields of Tunisian farmers. In this article, we will tell about two main cultures giving the country the greatest profits from exports and beloved by our tourists as delicious gifts from Tunisia. These are olives and dates. We will also tell about Tunisian olive oil.

Olives and dates – Basics of the economy of Tunisia

Tunisia takes 5th place in the world of yields olives, yielding only Spain, Greece, Italy and Turkey. Tunisians collect 840,000 tons of olives per year (average digit). Compared to the leaders, the figure is modest, but Tunisia does not have a large area suitable for agriculture, and the population of the country – 10 million people. If you consider grown olives per capita, then Tunisia is absolute recordsman – 84 kilograms per resident per year.

In Tunisia, receive 190,000 tons of olive oil per year, is 10% olive oil in the world. These are 19 kilograms per person, the world record.

Oil exports is an important article to replenish the country’s budget currency, only tourism and phosphates bring more currency revenues. The country exports about 130,000 tons of oil per year, which gives 662 million. Profit dollars (statistical data for season 2018/2019).

On dates, the position of Tunisia is modest – 9th place and 196,500 tons per year. However, in terms of exports, Tunisians in the world are leading, they sell about 100,000 tons of dates on the world market annually. In the season 2018/2019 earned a record 870 million. dollars. Even in Russia, almost all the Tunisian dates sold.

Talk about each direction in detail.


Olives grow on a tree that is called "olive tree". This is a long-lived tree, it grows very long. The first fruits appear only after 20 years, and a full-fledged harvest is removed only after 50 years. Olive trees are low, do not grow above 10 meters.

One of the oldest olive trees in the world grows in Tunisia, he is 2000 years old and it still gives a crop. This tree is on the Peninsula Cap Bon, close to the resorts of the name and Hammamet.

In total, about 80 million olive trees are growing in Tunisia, they are engaged in a third of arable land in the country. Many of the olive groves were planted by the French colonists during the French Protectorate, for example, huge roses in the bur.

The largest regions of cultivation olives: area around Sfax and Safel region (Machdia, Monastir and Sousse Province). Tunisians grow 140 different varieties of olives, the most common variety is called Meski.

Not only fruits are appreciated in the olive tree, but also wood. Such wood is characterized by a very interesting texture and very expensive. Products from olive wood can be viewed on the photo on the left, click on the photo to enlarge full screen.

In Tunisia, dishes and souvenirs from olive trees are very cheap, do not miss the chance to be purchased.

Olive oil

In Tunisia press oil from ancient times. In the ancient times in the era of ancient Rome, olive oil was used for everything – fry on it, added to dishes, burned to lighting, it was the basis of most drugs.

The territory of Tunisia was then the center of Africa, the country was fabulously rich due to oil exports to Rome. At a certain point in Rome organized a free distribution of olive oil to the people, which stimulated on the lands of modern Tunisia an unprecedented economic boom. Especially Gerba is the island of Djerba, who received in addition to income from the sale of oil, even arrived from the transit trade between "Black Africa" ​​and the Mediterranean.

Now the role of olive oil in the life of Tunisians changed little. As before, on its basis, they make medicines of local traditional medicine. It is added to many traditional dishes, for example, in Couscus. Even in potato puree, tunisians use olive oil, and not milk, as we have. Olive oil is the basis of most sauces, for example, Harissa.

The most common oil brand in Tunisia is called "Al Jazira". In the photo on the right, the rack of one of the shops in Yasmin Hammamet is fully made with these oil, the situation is typical for Tunisia.

Olive oil has always been an expensive product. From one olive tree turns out an average of 3.5 liters. The average price is 15 Tunisian dinars per liter. In Russia, price tags are 2 times higher, for this reason olive oil is so loved to bring from Tunisia.

We will not give advice on the choice and buying olive oil in Tunisia. We were told about this very detailed in the article "What to bring from Tunisia to tourists".


Olives, olive oil and dates in Tunisia

The dates grow on the palm trees, and the dates of palm trees grow in Tunisia everywhere, which is surprising Russians. Palms high – up to 20 meters in height. Eating fruits with street palm trees We do not recommend.

Date is a very important culture for Tunisians since ancient times. Traditional dinner for Tunisians begins with dicks, and you need to eat the odd number. After dates eating Chorba soup, bricks and couscous.

Falm palm trees grow much faster than olive trees. After 10 years, the first fruits appear, and the first harvest is removed by 15. Adult palm yield – 250 kilograms!

The first fruits on the phenomena can be seen in June, in August you can collect a harvest. In the photo on the left, a completely young palm tree, grows straight by the road. Fruits will not see yet, since the photo is done in May.

In the context of a complex Tunisian climate and a meager choice of food, dates were always for local residents a source of vitamins and microelements. We can say that the dates were indispensable. On the Internet you can find huge tables of content of nutrients in the dates, this is one of the most useful fruit for humans.

Date in Tunisia stand from 8 to 15 dinars per kilogram, such prices on tourist markets and in Monoprix and Carrefour supermarkets. Buying dates for such money is not much sense, since in Russia the same Tunisian dates are the same money. If you can get to the local market, you can buy dinels and 5-7 dinars.

Let’s give some tips on the choice of dates. Choose dates on the branch, this is a guarantee that the fruits have not visited the Earth. The best dates should be shifted, it should be clearly visible a bone. The shelf life of dried dates – 1.5 years. Be sure to look for a date on the package, merchants in Tunisia love to sell to tourists a seeded goods. If the dates on the package did not find, do not buy such dates.

It is interesting

– Olive oil and dates occupy the first two lines in our ranking of the most interesting Tunisian gifts. And what items occupy the rest of the lines, read in our article "16 best gifts from Tunisia";

– If you decide to bring dates or oil, then do not forget about the restrictions on the export and import to Russia. Details in our article "What can not and can be removed from Tunisa";

– Tunisia is famous not only by dicks, but also oranges, peaches, watermelons, grenades and other fruits. Read the details in our article "Fruits in Tunisia – Calendar and Prices".

Successful communication with olives and dates in Tunisia, and read our useful for tourists and cognitive to all articles about this country (List of links below).

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