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Mauritania Seeks to Join Olive Council

Mar. 3, 2021
Daniel Dawson

Recent News

The north­west­ern African coun­try of Mauritania is seek­ing to become the nine­teenth mem­ber of the International Olive Council (IOC).

Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira met with the country’s min­is­ter of rural devel­op­ment, Dy Ould Zein, in the Mauritanian cap­i­tal of Nouakchott last month to facil­i­tate the country’s acces­sion to the inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion.

See Also: Olive Council Sets Out to Study Global Consumption Trends

The two also dis­cussed plans to increase olive and olive oil pro­duc­tion in Mauritania, pro­mote olive oil con­sump­tion among the local pop­u­la­tion and ensure qual­ity con­trol mea­sures.

According to the min­istry of agri­cul­ture, olive cul­ti­va­tion in the West African nation is cur­rently neg­li­gi­ble, with no sig­nif­i­cant olive or olive oil pro­duc­tion tak­ing place in recent years.

However, Maurtianians’ taste for olive oil has been grow­ing rapidly in the past decade. According to the Observatory for Economic Complexity, between 2013 and 2018 (the last year for which data are avail­able), the value of olive oil imports to Mauritania nearly dou­bled, ris­ing from $370,000 to $720,000.

Along with Ghedira, the head of the IOC’s tech­nol­ogy and envi­ron­ment unit, Abdelkrim Adi, also vis­ited Mauritania to begin a pre­lim­i­nary study into which olive vari­eties would grow best in the country’s cli­mate.

The vast major­ity of Mauritania is cov­ered by the Sahara Desert and Sahel, semi-arid grass­lands. However, the coun­try also has a 750-kilo­me­ter coast­line on the Atlantic Ocean. 

In this thin coastal strip, trade winds com­ing from the north bring humid air and cre­ate a tem­per­ate cli­mate.

As a result, most of the country’s agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion takes place in this coastal zone. Among the most pop­u­lar tree crops in Mauritania are dates, which tend to thrive in areas well-suited to olive grow­ing.

Since a 2008 coup, Mauritania remains among the world’s most dan­ger­ous coun­tries and vis­it­ing the coun­try is con­sid­ered unsafe for Westerners.

According to the U.S. Department of State, human rights abuses in the coun­try include mis­treat­ment of detainees, arbi­trary arrests, lim­its on free­dom of the press and assem­bly, slav­ery and child labor, among oth­ers.





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