Jordanian Producers Celebrate First-Ever Wins at World Olive Oil Competition

After a harvest marked by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and hot and dry weather, producers from Jordan earned four awards from the World Competition.
Ziad Bilbeisi. Photo: Al-Maida Agricultural
Jun. 24, 2021
Wasim Shahzad

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Nearly one month after the dust has set­tled on the results of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition and pro­duc­ers from Jordan are still cel­e­brat­ing.

Located in the heart of the Levant, the his­toric home of the olive tree, Jordanian pro­duc­ers earned a record-high four awards from the world’s most pres­ti­gious olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion, includ­ing three Gold Awards and a Silver Award.

(This suc­cess) has raised our brand name inter­na­tion­ally and in the domes­tic mar­ket. Also, it has moti­vated us to become more ambi­tious for the upcom­ing sea­son.- Amelia Bilbeisi, head of the Middle East region, Al-Maida Agricultural

While pro­duc­ers from Jordan entered the com­pe­ti­tion on two pre­vi­ous occa­sions – 2015 and 2016 – this year was the first time Jordanian extra vir­gin olive oil had ever been awarded.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Jordan

For most Jordanian pro­duc­ers, the 2020/21 crop year was fairly aver­age. The International Olive Council esti­mates pro­duc­tion reached 25,000 tons, slightly above the rolling five-year aver­age, but far less than the record-high 34,500 tons recorded in 2019/20.

The incred­i­bly hot tem­per­a­tures through­out north­ern olive-grow­ing regions of Jordan paired with many pro­duc­ers enter­ing an off-year in the nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle of the olive trees were attrib­uted to the pro­duc­tion decrease.

However, Amelia Bilbeisi, the head of the Middle East region at Al-Maida Agricultural, said Jordan’s cli­mate is part of what makes its olive oils stand out.


Photo: Al-Maida Agricultural

The ter­roir of the Jordanian desert pro­vides our oil with unique char­ac­ter­is­tics and we care­fully craft them to the organolep­tic pro­files and goals we set for the sea­son,” she told Olive Oil Times.

Al-Maida Agricultural emerged as the biggest win­ner from the Middle East at the NYIOOC, earn­ing two Gold Awards for its Arbequina and Arbosana blends, and a Silver Award for its Koroneiki blend.

This has raised our brand name inter­na­tion­ally and in the domes­tic mar­ket,” Bilbeisi said. Also, it has moti­vated us to become more ambi­tious for the upcom­ing sea­son and has made us focus on fur­ther improv­ing our qual­ity stan­dards.”

Despite endow­ing the company’s olive oils with its dis­tinct organolep­tic qual­i­ties, Bilbeisi added that the extremely hot and dry weather com­bined with the Covid-19 pan­demic made 2020 quite a chal­leng­ing year for the com­pany.

We pro­duced more this year than the last year, although we had unsea­son­able hot weather before the start of the har­vest,” she said. Our total pro­duc­tion vol­ume was 125 tons of extra vir­gin olive oil.”

A pan­demic-stricken eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and extremely hot weather were the two most severe chal­lenges we faced last year,” she added.

Jordan’s other win­ning pro­ducer at the World Competition was the Alzyoud Olive Oil Mill, a first-time entrant that earned a Gold Award for its Alzyoudi brand, a medium blend.


Photo: Alzyoud Olive Oil Mill

It was a nice feel­ing to get the Gold Award in our first time par­tic­i­pat­ing,” owner Fayyad El Ziuod told Olive Oil Times, attribut­ing his suc­cess to his mill’s state-of-the-art equip­ment and ded­i­cated team of pro­fes­sion­als.

We pro­duce high-qual­ity olive oil with great care, con­sid­er­ing the high­est inter­na­tional stan­dards of local vari­eties with national ori­gins,” he added.

According to El Ziuod, the high cost of pro­duc­tion is one of the biggest chal­lenges faced by Al-Zyoudi and other Jordanian pro­duc­ers.

In 2020, our pro­duc­tion vol­ume was 250,000 kilo­grams, which was good enough and within the usual rate of pro­duc­tion but its cost exceeded by $7.00 (€5.90) per liter,” he said.

However, El Ziuod added that the qual­ity of the olive oil should never be com­pro­mised to save on cost and for this rea­son, the com­pany does not mind bear­ing the high cost of pro­duc­tion. High qual­ity helps pro­mote the brand, El Ziuod rea­soned, and there­fore invest­ing in it will pay div­i­dends in the future.

For El Ziuod, suc­cess­fully pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil each year, some­thing he has been doing since open­ing the mill in 1993, requires a high level of ded­i­ca­tion and team­work.

To pro­vide the right olives to pro­duce at the right time and to get the required qual­ity, we work really hard,” he said.

We are proud that our prod­uct is in the most impor­tant olive oil com­pe­ti­tion in the world,” El Ziuod con­cluded. My pas­sion increases with the result of this com­pe­ti­tion. The Gold Award will add value to our prod­uct and brand.”


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