Tunisia: Discovering Tunisian Agriculture & the Roman City of Uthina

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Modern oil manufacturing equipment at Al Jazira

Today our class visited two agricultural businesses located south of Tunis. Al Jazira Olive Oil led us through a tour of their manufacturing facility and taught us about the production and distribution process of olive oil both within and outside of Tunisia. 1 ton of olives typically yields 200 liters of oil and Al Jazira creates mostly extra virgin olive oil varieties. They utilize Chaibi olives and maximize their production during the growing season, which lasts from October to January, by utilizing a modern processing facility. The company participates in many international tasting competitions and trade shows each year as part of its strategy to continue to identify international distributors.


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Sun Antipasti production line

Next we visited the factory of Sun Antipasti, an agri-food company that produces and distributes tomato paste, harissa, and thin pastry sheets.  These pastry sheets, called bricks, are becoming increasingly popular around the world and we were treated to samples of the final products following our visit. Sun Antipasti exports its products to international markets – check out their website to find their products near you! Both Al Jazira olive oil and Sun Antipasti have immense potential for international expansion and are taking advantage of favorable export regulations to grow their presence.

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With the Sun Antipasti team following our visit

We then visited ruins of the ancient Roman city of Uthina, which was only recently discovered and 80% of which is believed to still be underground. Throughout the tour we enjoyed scenic views of the ancient town, including the old aqueduct, underground hammams, and a stunning amphitheater. The Amphitheater once seated 16,000 spectators for views of Many of the town’s original mosaics are now displayed in the Bardo museum in Tunis.  While much of the original structures across Uthina have been restored, nothing new has been added to the town and much of the original beauty remains.

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Roman ampitheater at Uthina

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Katie Tsantes (’19) is an MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School

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