TUNIS, TUNISIA — Tunisia is forecast to import 610,000 tonnes of soybeans in 2018-19, up from 580,000 tonnes the previous year, according to a March 1 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The United States continues to be the biggest supplier of soybeans to Tunisia. In 2017-18, Tunisia imported 580,000 tonnes overall with 280,000 tonnes coming from the United States.

Imported soybeans are sent to the country’s lone crushing facility, which has a crushing capacity of 2,000 tonnes per day. For 2018-19, the country’s soybean crush is forecast at 604,000 tonnes.

Increased crushing capacity at the facility will continue to squeeze demand for imported soybean meal — estimated at 110,000 tonnes for 2018-19 — as feed demand continues to grow slowly as a result of strong controls limiting the growth of poultry production. In 2017-18, about 120,000 tonnes of soybean meal was imported.

Increased crush also will lead to lower import demand for soybean oil in 2018-19 — it is forecast down from 140,000 tonnes to 135,000 tonnes — as consumer demand remains largely limited by the local economy.

Tunisian consumption of soybean meal for 2018-19 is forecast at 585,000 tonnes compared with an estimated 561,000 tonnes in 2017-18. This follows a dramatic slowdown in 2016-17 that was connected in part with the government’s reintroduction of quotas into the poultry sector to limit production.