These days most farmers in the Jerash province in Jordan are not able to prune and care for their olive trees.
They warned the Ministry of Agriculture that wildly fluctuating weather conditions have hit crops in the flowering period and made it almost impossible to carry on with their seasonal tasks, Saraya News Agency reported.
Local olive growers said most of their oil for the last season still sits in storage facilities. The weak demand for olive oil by national and international markets in the last few months has severely impacted farmers’ revenues and their operations.
According to local growers, the COVID-19 containment measures completely halted the marketing of olive oil while Jordanian citizens seek the most basic foods. With the new season approaching, they warned that prices will likely lower again and broader losses are to be expected.
Imad Al-Ayasrah, director of the Jerash Agricultural Authority, confirmed that at least 2,300 thousand tons of olive oil out of 2,400 tons produced in the 2019/20 harvest season went unsold in the province. He invited growers to focus on exports in light of the low national demand of olive oil at this challenging time.
The Authority believes that a focus on exports could at least help cover production costs and asked producers to adopt new technologies and methods for all phases of the production to better compete in international markets.
According to local sources, Al-Ayasrah invited producers to sell olive oil in smaller packages and to invest in alternative uses, such as in cosmetics, for example.
While they wait for possible intervention from the central government, some local growers are still dealing with the effects of the widespread forest fires in Jerash, hitting some olive groves as well as some monumental, centuries-old olive trees.