`World Bank Agency Helps Palestinian Olive Oil Exporters - Olive Oil Times

World Bank Agency Helps Palestinian Olive Oil Exporters

Jun. 10, 2010
Olive Oil Times Staff

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The International Finance Corporation, an agency of the World Bank announced it is launch­ing the sec­ond phase of a project that helps the pack­ag­ing of olive oil by export­ing com­pa­nies in the West Bank. The aim is to improve their com­pet­i­tive­ness, com­pli­ance with inter­na­tional stan­dards and increase its pres­ence in world mar­kets.

The pro­gram which began in 2006 helps the eight com­pa­nies that together account for most of the sec­tor in the region develop the sup­ply chain, improve prod­uct qual­ity and increase exports. The sec­ond phase, last­ing until January 2012, will encour­age those firms access to inter­na­tional mar­kets by obtain­ing fund­ing. The project will also guide com­pa­nies to find ways to use byprod­ucts of olive oil pro­duc­tion and reduce poten­tial neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal impacts.

The pro­gram has already scored sev­eral suc­cesses. It has helped five com­pa­nies obtain cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in accor­dance with inter­na­tional food stan­dards and trained more than a hun­dred employ­ees of the bot­tling com­pa­nies and their sup­pli­ers in pack­ag­ing and pro­ce­dures for the export of olive oil. Ali Anabtawi, CEO of Near East Industries and Trade Co. noted that the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion received with IFC sup­port has been crit­i­cal to help us pen­e­trate new mar­kets and build legit­i­macy with large inter­na­tional retail cus­tomers.

Olive oil pro­duc­tion is a major dri­ver of eco­nomic growth in the West Bank and Gaza, where it accounts for 5% of GDP and employs more than 100,000 fam­i­lies directly and indi­rectly. IFC expects that its involve­ment will help increase exports of the sec­tor by 2014. Lars Thunell, IFC exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent stressed that sup­port for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in the West Bank and Gaza is vital. It helps cre­ate jobs and eco­nomic oppor­tu­ni­ties in these ter­ri­to­ries. IFC is help­ing olive oil oil pro­duc­ers to over­come lim­i­ta­tions such as lack of fund­ing and knowl­edge of mar­ket­ing tech­niques.”

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