` Libya’s New Oil Comes from Pressing, Not Drilling - Olive Oil Times

Libya’s New Oil Comes from Pressing, Not Drilling

Dec. 15, 2012
Costas Vasilopoulos

Recent News

Having moved on to a new era after the fall of the regime, Libya wants to expand its sources of rev­enue to stop being com­pletely depen­dent on hydro­car­bons. The Libyans are turn­ing to the earth in an attempt to revive the agri­cul­tural sec­tor which was aban­doned dur­ing the past decades.

Olive trees have been present in the coun­try since ancient times and today there are 8 mil­lion trees giv­ing 32,000 tons of olive oil, putting the north African coun­try at the 12th place of olive oil pro­duc­ers worldwide.

According to the Libya Herald, the gov­ern­ment aspires to strengthen the olive oil sec­tor and take steps to export Libyan olive oil to European mar­kets. For this to become fea­si­ble, a mar­ket­ing strat­egy and a national label’ will be devel­oped to sig­nal the oil’s ori­gin. Supporters hope it will take its place as a mark of qual­ity in the minds of con­sumers in for­eign mar­kets. Until now, Libya’s olive oil exports have been vir­tu­ally non-exis­tent with only some indi­vid­ual farm­ers hav­ing shoul­dered the task with no data avail­able. In 2010 there was a reported 1,000 tons of olive oil exported, accord­ing to the Index Mundi coun­try profile.

Farmers are now exper­i­ment­ing with the Spanish Arbequina vari­ety and results are encour­ag­ing. Arbequina gives highly aro­matic fruits and it seems that its rel­a­tively small size and endurance make it the right tree for the cli­mate. Only 2 per­cent of Libya’s 680,000 square miles is arable land, so every inch of it is valu­able and the trees and cul­ti­vat­ing tech­niques must pro­vide the best pos­si­ble yield.

Recently, Libya and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) com­menced a coop­er­a­tive pro­gram to develop the agri­cul­tural sec­tor of the coun­try and improve food secu­rity, with the stake­hold­ers being the farm­ers, the fish­ers, the traders and consumers.

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