Olive trees in Takrouna, Tunisia

No one, not even the elders, can remember trees so full of olives.

While worldwide production of olive oil is having an off year, the harvest in Tunisia is shaping up to be one of the best ever. Perfect weather conditions for productivity helped ready olive trees for the a record season.
See more: Complete Coverage of the 2014 Harvest
Already the biggest producer among Arab countries, this year Tunisia aspires to be third-biggest olive oil producer in the world. This year’s production is expected to be between 265,000 to 285,000 tons — more than twice last year’s output — according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

And while it is a great gain for the Tunisian olive oil sector, the bumper harvest is posing some problems.

The high cost of manpower, a lack of skilled workers, and the danger of robberies are real threats for producers. Nevertheless, Tunisian exporters will be looking to thrive in Europe, taking advantage of poor harvests in an olive oil stronghold that will fall short of satisfying its own internal demand.

Special measures have been undertaken by experts and local authorities for the larger-than-normal harvest operations. Sfax farmers started Monday, November 9 to harvest, and producers from other regions were allowed to start earlier due to a hailstorm.

New initiatives were also being considered to market Tunisian olive oil to meet the high demand in the international market

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