Stone fruit harvest expected to reach 245,000 tonnes in summer 2024

Tunis: The summer stone fruit harvest for the 2023-2024 season is expected to reach 245,000 tonnes (compared with 223,000 tonnes the previous season), up 10%. Preliminary estimates provided to TAP by the Interprofessional Fruits Grouping show that this increase in production applies to most varieties, with varying percentages, despite climatic changes characterised by a lack of rain. The peach harvest is estimated at 122.4 thousand tonnes, up 5% compared with the previous season, while the apricot harvest is expected to reach 41 thousand tonnes, up 28% compared with the previous season. Plum production is projected to amount to around 19,000 tonnes this summer, up 16% compared with last season. The cherry harvest rose by 22.3% to 9,000 tonnes, while the peach harvest (nectarine variety) fell by 10% to stabilise at around 1,8 thousand tonnes. Medlar production is estimated at about 3.1 tonnes, compared with 2.5 tonnes the previous season. The regional breakdown of production, according to the Grouping sh owed that the governorate of Kairouan, in the centre, was in the lead at the national level in stone fruit production, with a total output of over 37.4 thousand tonnes, compared with around 30.1 thousand tonnes the previous season. The governorate of Ben Arous, in the north-east, ranked second at national level in stone fruit production, with about 33.8 thousand tonnes, compared with 24.5 thousand tonnes the previous season. The governorate of Kasserine, in the centre-west, came third with fruit production of about 23.9 thousand tonnes, compared with 20.8 thousand tonnes the previous season. Drop in watermelon production Watermelon production was estimated at about 100,000 tonnes from a registered cultivated area of about 3,000 hectares, compared with 130,000 tonnes the previous season. The melon production is forecast at about 60,000 tonnes over an area of 2,000 hectares. Citrus exports in figures As for the citrus export season, which is drawing to a close, the quantities exported, according to group ing, reached 8,493 tonnes up to May 2 worth TND 29.4 million, compared with 7,614 tonnes worth TND 25.5 million the previous season, recording a consecutive increase of 11.5% in terms of quantity and 15.2% in terms of value. Maltese oranges accounted for some 96% of total citrus fruit exports, followed by clementines with 1.7%. In terms of geographical distribution, the French market drew the lion's share of citrus exports with over 90%, followed by the Libyan market with 7.3% and the Gulf markets with 2%. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse