`Jordan Halts Imports of Olive Oil from Palestine - Olive Oil Times

Jordan Halts Imports of Olive Oil from Palestine

By Paolo DeAndreis
Nov. 14, 2022 17:18 UTC

The gov­ern­ment in Jordan has tem­porar­ily halted high-vol­ume olive oil imports from Palestine due to the kingdom’s bumper har­vest.

Hazem al-Samadi, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Ministry of Agriculture’s mar­ket­ing and qual­ity depart­ment, said the imports are rejected at this time due to the peak of the local pro­duc­tion sea­son.”

Al-Samadi added the mea­sure would be tem­po­rary while the olive har­vest is ongo­ing in the coun­try.

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Farmers and pro­duc­ers in Jordan expect to pro­duce more than 30,000 tons of olive oil, a 25-per­cent increase com­pared to the pre­vi­ous crop year. According to the International Olive Council, Jordan pro­duced 22,000 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year.

The mea­sure enacted by the Middle Eastern king­dom does not come as a sur­prise, as sim­i­lar reg­u­la­tions were passed in December 2021.

Challenges abound for Palestinian olive oil exporters, as most of their oper­a­tions fall under com­plex agree­ments with Israel. In April 2020, a com­mer­cial dis­pute about the Israeli cat­tle mar­ket led to a tem­po­rary block­ade of Palestinian olive oil exports to Jordan by Israeli offi­cials.

International Olive Council (IOC) fig­ures show that the sov­er­eign state, which includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip, pro­duced approx­i­mately 27,000 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year. For the cur­rent har­vest, expec­ta­tions run high, with pro­duc­ers in the Gaza Strip antic­i­pat­ing a good har­vest.

To help Palestinian pro­duc­ers, the United Kingdom and Indonesia signed sep­a­rate free trade agree­ments in 2019. According to a 2018 report from the World Bank, 4.6 per­cent of the Palestinian gross domes­tic prod­uct, $66.7 mil­lion at the time, came from the olive oil sec­tor.

Recent esti­mates from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) con­firm these find­ings. In 2020, Palestinian olive oil exports rep­re­sented 4.8 per­cent of the state’s total exports. In addi­tion, OEC fig­ures show that 77 per­cent of all Palestinian exports in 2020 went to Israel, with 8.5 per­cent ship­ping to Jordan.

While speak­ing to jour­nal­ists, al-Samadi stressed how Palestinian fam­i­lies cross­ing the bor­der to Jordan will still be allowed to carry up to a max­i­mum of 32 liters of olive oil with them.

Some flex­i­bil­ity in the new rules is cru­cial for many fam­i­lies and farms which oper­ate near the bor­der and, in a few cases, in both Jordan and the West Bank.


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