` A Defining Moment for Iranian Olive Oil

Africa / Middle East

A Defining Moment for Iranian Olive Oil

Jan. 22, 2015
By Aldo Pesce

Recent News

As a pro­ducer, Iran is more known for its ele­gant car­pets than for its olive oil. But there could be a turn­ing point for the Iran­ian olive and olive oil sec­tor, as sev­eral key events are planned for the next few weeks.

Jean-Louis Bar­jol, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC) said Iran is rank­ing 11th among 43 olive pro­duc­ing coun­tries in a pol­icy meet­ing at the Coun­cil last Tues­day. Since 1993, when the first plan­ta­tions for com­mer­cial pur­poses were planted in three regions, Iran has made impor­tant progress in the olive oil sec­tor.

Olive trees now cover about 103,000 hectares, but Iran still has plenty of room to grow, as Younes Sinaki, the deputy agri­cul­tural min­is­ter for com­mer­cial affairs, said to a local news agency.

Sinaki said the IOC will fund half of the bud­get for sev­eral edu­ca­tional work­shops in Zan­jan, Gilan and Golestan provinces to improve knowl­edge of olive cul­ti­va­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion. Bar­jol him­self is pay­ing a visit to Zan­jan and Gilan research sta­tions today, Jan­u­ary 22, to under­score the impor­tance of the region from the Coun­cil’s point of view.

Olivex, which is billed as Iran’s first inter­na­tional exhi­bi­tion of olive, edi­ble oils, olive oil, oilseeds, machin­ery and related tech­nol­ogy,” will be held at the Exhi­bi­tion Cen­ter of the Imam Khome­ini (PBUH) Grand Mos­alla in the Iran­ian cap­i­tal Tehran from Jan­u­ary 27 to 30.

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The exhi­bi­tion will host for­eign and local com­pa­nies and man­agers, being the first occa­sion for sec­tor experts and busi­ness oper­a­tors to know more about Iran. The event also aims to intro­duce mod­ern tech­nolo­gies and solu­tions to attract invest­ments and to increase local pro­duc­tion, iden­ti­fy­ing weak­nesses and solv­ing the prob­lems affect­ing the indus­try in Iran.

Even if the fair is the first of its kind, olive oil is not new in Iran; it was men­tioned in ancient Iran­ian reli­gious hymns dat­ing 2,000 years ago. The geo­graph­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and the mild cli­mate in some regions has pro­vided for the cul­ti­va­tion of olive trees for cen­turies.

The most com­mon of the local cul­ti­vars include Mari, which recent stud­ies have shown to con­tain a high con­tent of sterols, Zard and Rowghani.

Iran­ian peo­ple them­selves, how­ever, con­sume mea­ger quan­ti­ties of olive oil, with an annual per capita con­sump­tion that reaches only 160 grams. Orga­niz­ers hope these ongo­ing events will help olive oil regain the role it played his­tor­i­cally in the econ­omy and in the cul­ture of Iran.


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