`Libya Hopes to Boost Olive Oil Exports

Africa / Middle East

Libya Hopes to Boost Olive Oil Exports

Jan. 7, 2013
By Vikas Vij

Recent News

Libya, the 12th largest olive oil pro­ducer in the world, plans to boost its econ­omy with a new empha­sis on olive oil exports. Offi­cials at the export pro­mo­tion cen­ter in Tripoli said Libya will pro­mote the qual­ity of its olive pro­duc­tion in order to expand exports to Europe. It will engage the pri­vate sec­tor play­ers to enhance pro­duc­tiv­ity and carve a niche for Libyan olive oil in inter­na­tional mar­kets.

An exhi­bi­tion of olives and dates was held last month in Tripoli, where Libya’s pro­duc­tion of olives and olive oil was dis­cussed as a poten­tial trade oppor­tu­nity. Gov­ern­ment offi­cials acknowl­edged the high expec­ta­tions of the lucra­tive Euro­pean mar­kets regard­ing stan­dards of qual­ity, pack­ag­ing and label­ing of olive oil. The offi­cials said a national label would be devel­oped in order to facil­i­tate mar­ket­ing and estab­lish a rep­u­ta­tion of trust for Libyan olive oils.

Olive crops eas­ily tol­er­ate spells of drought, which makes it a good fit for the arid cli­mate of Libya. The coun­try already has more than 8 mil­lion olive trees and pro­duces 160,000 tons of olives and 32,000 tons of olive oil annu­ally, accord­ing to data released by the Libyan min­istry of agri­cul­ture. The coun­try has 3.6 mil­lion hectares of arable land.

Libya is exper­i­ment­ing with the Arbe­quina olive vari­ety from Spain. Arbe­quina is known for its highly aro­matic fruit. It was intro­duced in Europe in the 17th cen­tury, and is now mostly grown in Cat­alo­nia. Fol­low­ing encour­ag­ing results in exper­i­men­tal pro­duc­tion of this vari­ety in Libya, now more than 1,900 hectares have been planted under two agri­cul­tural projects.

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Offi­cials in Tripoli said the state will get more involved in sup­port­ing the entire olive oil pro­duc­tion chain, from choos­ing what vari­eties to plant to the trans­for­ma­tion of the pack­ag­ing process. The gov­ern­ment will also com­mis­sion stud­ies on the Euro­pean mar­ket to help Libyan exporters under­stand the chal­lenges ahead.



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