`Syria Expects Record Olive Oil Production Amid Political Unrest - Olive Oil Times

Syria Expects Record Olive Oil Production Amid Political Unrest

By Vikas Vij
Nov. 6, 2011 15:22 UTC

The pro­duc­tion of olive oil in Syria is expected to hit an all- time high of 200,000 tons, with a bumper olive crop this year. Even as the Syrian econ­omy at large con­tin­ues to suf­fer due to months of polit­i­cal unrest, olive pick­ing has not faced any sig­nif­i­cant impact. The har­vest began a few weeks ago along the Mediterranean coast and will con­tinue until the end of sea­son in February.

The Syrian Ministry of Agriculture has issued a state­ment announc­ing that favor­able weather con­di­tions are help­ing the olive har­vest this sea­son. The min­istry fore­casts a pro­duc­tion of 175,000 tons of olive oil this year. However, the International Olive Council (IOC), a trade orga­ni­za­tion in Spain, has esti­mated that the pro­duc­tion in Syria will touch 200,000 tons this year.

Olive oil is the main sta­ple for Syrian peo­ple, who are among the top con­sumers in the world. The aver­age annual con­sump­tion of olive oil per per­son in Syria is approx­i­mately five liters.

Olive is a key part of Syrian agri­cul­ture, with a share of about eight per­cent of the total agri­cul­tural out­put. More than a 100,000 peas­ant fam­i­lies are directly depen­dent on olive cul­ti­va­tion, which pro­vides about 13 mil­lion work­days a year for just pick­ing olives, even though the har­vest sea­son lasts for only a part of the year.

The total olive oil exports from Syria stood at 25,000 tons last year. Omar Adi, an olive oil pro­ducer in Syria said, Syrian farm­ers lack high-qual­ity pro­duc­tion tech­niques, which the gov­ern­ment needs to address. The Syrian olive oil is good, but in the inter­na­tional mar­ket, you need a high, sta­ble qual­ity.” Beset with domes­tic polit­i­cal chal­lenges and lack of advanced agri­cul­ture, Syria still con­tin­ues to hold its own as one of the top five olive oil pro­duc­ers in the world.


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