Tunisian food exports to war-torn Libya soar

08:51, July 18, 2011      

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Tunisian food exports to Libya have increased fourfold from 53,1 million dinars (40 million U.S. dollars) during the first quarter this year to 192,2 million dinars (150 million U.S. dollars) by the end of June, the official press agency TAP reported on Sunday.

The increase is the result of heavy Libyan demand for basic food commodities in a country where the war opposing Muammar Gaddafi is dragging on into its fifth month, taking a heavy toll on civilian populations.

The influx of Libyan refugees fleeing their war-torn country, has also boosted border trade. Libya is currently the fourth destination of Tunisian foodstuff with 24 percent of Tunisian exports, TAP said.

The hike is mostly due to the increase in vegetable oil, cereals, flour, and milk. Although these results are positive for Tunisia's external trade, they are also beginning to fuel fears among consumers of a disruption of the supply of the local market during the month of Ramadan (Muslim month of fasting) which is due to begin early August, TAP said.

Traditionally during the month of Ramadan, consumption of foodstuff increases by 30 percent.

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