Plans for the creation of a consortium of olive oil exporters in Algeria is expected to offer support to local producers and promote Algerian olive oil on the international market.
The proposal was announced at an information day held on April 29th in Algiers on the Algerian olive industry organized by ALGEX, the national agency for the promotion of exports.
According to a representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the consortium will be set up under a development program implemented by UNIDO and the ministry of the industry aimed at diversifying the national economy.
Among international producers of olive oil, Algeria is in 9th position, with an annual production of only 62,000 tons, making competition with larger olive producing countries a challenge.
According to ALGEX, olive oil exports were valued at $200,000 in 2013, and half that amount the previous year. An increase in olive production is expected in coming years thanks to the introduction of a system of intensive farming which should open up the possibility of exports, especially to China, the U.S. and Japan where olive oil consumption is increasing.
The experts at the meeting unanimously agreed that a failure to adhere to international quality standards is a major obstacle to the export of Algerian olive products. They pointed to the need for certified laboratories meeting international requirements while local producers emphasized the need to respect international norms with regard to harvest techniques, processing and the storage of the oil to preserve quality.
The proposed consortium is expected to offer members the possibility to collaborate in order to increase productivity, improve quality, boost exports, control prices, and enhance their power of negotiation.
Such a body could also represent members at state institutions for the assistance and technical means required to guarantee product quality. The initiative could result in the development of the Algerian olive oil sector and ultimately a better quality olive oil.