Egypt Wants to Plant 100 Million Olive Trees for Oil Production

While Egypt is the world's second largest producer of table olives, very little infrastructure in the country is dedicated to olive oil production.

El Tur on the Sinai Peninsula
May. 20, 2019
By Julie Al-Zoubi
El Tur on the Sinai Peninsula

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Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Ezz El Din Abu Steit has unveiled the country’s ambi­tious goal of plant­ing 100 mil­lion olive trees in Egypt by 2022 in an effort to boost the coun­try’s olive oil pro­duc­tion.

The plan was announced at a sem­i­nar on new invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in the Egyptian olive sec­tor, which pre­ceded the International Olive Council’s (IOC) fifty-third meet­ing that took place in Cairo last month. Egypt rejoined the IOC last year after its mem­ber­ship was revoked in 2017.

We need well-equipped fac­to­ries to extract and pro­duce olive oil. These fac­to­ries should be estab­lished near the plots planted with olives. So it is very impor­tant to breathe new life into agri­cul­tural invest­ment.- Hussein Abu Saddam, head of the Egyptian Farmers Syndicate

The Egyptian gov­ern­ment has made plots of land avail­able for investors. Both Egyptian and for­eign investors will have access to plots mak­ing up 10,000 acres in Upper Egypt’s West Minya and 25,000 acres in Matrouh, along with des­ig­nated land in the oases of the Western Desert.

A fur­ther, 10,000 acres in the El Tur area of the south­ern Sinai Peninsula will be reserved exclu­sively for Egyptian investors.

See Also: Africa and the Middle East

Abu Steit high­lighted progress on the expan­sion of Egypt’s olive groves, which have grown from 5,000 acres in the late 1970s to 108,000 by the mil­len­nium and now encom­pass 240,000 acres.

Egypt is the world’s sec­ond largest pro­ducer of table olives and pro­duced around 450,000 tons in 2018/19 of which around 100,000 tons were exported.

Whilst the coun­try has been able to sat­isfy its 3,260 per­cent growth in domes­tic con­sump­tion of table olives, olive oil pro­duc­tion has been a mea­gre 20,000 tons. Many in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor hope increas­ing olive oil pro­duc­tion will bring much needed added value to the sec­tor.

Hussein Abu Saddam, head of the Egyptian Farmers Syndicate con­firmed the need for investors to boost olive oil pro­duc­tion, telling Al-Monitor: This step is inevitable. The olive tree is the most suit­able tree to be cul­ti­vated in the coun­try since it can be planted in dif­fer­ent types of soil and does not con­sume large quan­ti­ties of water.”

He also raised the need for the gov­ern­ment to intro­duce mea­sures that would pre­vent and com­bat olive tree dis­eases dur­ing the expan­sion pro­gram.

Abu Saddam who said that 100 mil­lion olive trees equated to an olive tree for every cit­i­zen added, we need well-equipped fac­to­ries to extract and pro­duce olive oil. These fac­to­ries should be estab­lished near the plots planted with olives. So it is very impor­tant to breathe new life into agri­cul­tural invest­ment.”

Last year Olive Oil Times reported on Egypt’s aspi­ra­tion to become the world’s num­ber one table olive pro­ducer by expand­ing the vari­eties of olives cul­ti­vated and increas­ing pro­duc­tion in desert lands.

Opening doors to for­eign investors in the olive sec­tor would boost the country’s ail­ing econ­omy and pro­vide much needed hard cur­rency as well as cre­at­ing jobs in the coun­try, which is still feel­ing the impacts of its 2011 rev­o­lu­tion.

Egypt has strug­gled to raise the $58 bil­lion needed to fund the cre­ation of its new and as yet unnamed cap­i­tal city, which would be located about 30 miles east of Cairo by mid 2020.





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