Egypt Moves to Join Olive Council

Egypt's membership in the International Olive Council was revoked in 2017 after it failed to sign an agreement on changes to standards of olive cultivation, production and trading.

Jan. 19, 2018
By Julie Al-Zoubi

Recent News

Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved a pres­i­den­tial decree on join­ing the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives. The pres­i­den­tial decree (no.560/2017) which was signed in Cairo on January 8 will enti­tle Egypt to full mem­ber­ship in the International Olive Council (IOC) once the gov­ern­ment has deposited the instru­ment of rat­i­fi­ca­tion with the United Nations in New York.

Egypt first joined the IOC in 1964 but in 2017 its mem­ber­ship was revoked after it failed to sign an agree­ment on changes to stan­dards of olive cul­ti­va­tion, pro­duc­tion and trad­ing.

Under the agree­ment, Egypt will ben­e­fit from finan­cial grants to sup­port the country’s olive cul­ti­va­tion, includ­ing a new ini­tia­tive to plant one mil­lion olive trees as part of a project aimed at cul­ti­vat­ing 1.5 mil­lion trees in the Western Desert.

The Egyptian olive oil indus­try has grown con­sid­er­ably in recent years and while some IOC mem­bers saw a drop in olive oil pro­duc­tion in 2017, Egypt’s pro­duc­tion increased by 21 per­cent. Demand for Egyptian olive oil also rose fol­low­ing the country’s cur­rency flota­tion; an ini­tia­tive which aimed to stim­u­late the country’s econ­omy. The flota­tion gave pro­duc­ers greater export oppor­tu­ni­ties and helped to secure a $12 bil­lion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Hishem el Hossary, under­sec­re­tary of the com­mit­tee of agri­cul­ture, irri­ga­tion, food secu­rity and ani­mal health com­mented on the Egyptian government’s web­site that being a mem­ber of the International Olive Council had ben­e­fited Egypt’s agri­cul­tural and olive oil indus­try and the over­all econ­omy, and led to the improve­ment of the phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of Egyptian olive oil.


In April 2017 Palestine became the lat­est coun­try to sign the IOC agree­ment join­ing Argentina, Algeria, European Union, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.

The cur­rent IOC agree­ment was re-drafted by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Switzerland in 2015. It came into effect in January 2017 and is valid till December 2026. The new agree­ment was mod­i­fied, con­densed and made sim­pler to encour­age more coun­tries to join the IOC. The orig­i­nal agree­ment was set up in 1955 and was revised in 1963, 1979, 1986 and 2005.

The IOC aims to improve the chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of olive oil, per­fect pro­duc­tion and improve har­vest­ing tech­niques. It also pro­vides tech­ni­cal assis­tance on export projects in order to over­come obsta­cles to inter­na­tional trade.


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