AMMAN (JT) –– Olive oil production from the 2009 harvest season increased by 48 per cent to 16,760 tonnes from 11,292 tonnes in 2008, according to figures issued by the Department of Statistics (DoS) on Sunday.
The DoS report also showed that the Kingdom’s total olive production increased by 30 per cent last year, reaching 135,000 tonnes compared with 94,000 tonnes in 2008. Of which 69 per cent, or 92,000 tonnes, was used for extraction of oil.
Despite a 16 per cent drop in production, the northern Governorate of Irbid registered the highest production of olive oil last year with 3,429 tonnes, followed by Jerash and Ajloun with 2,656 and 2,576 tonnes respectively, the figures indicated.
The southern governorates of Aqaba, Tafileh and Karak registered the lowest olive oil production levels in the country in 2009, although their production increased significantly over the previous year, the figures showed, indicating that Aqaba produced 78 tonnes compared with only 20 tonnes in 2008, Tafileh 105 tonnes compared with 21 tonnes and Karak 544 tonnes compared with 217 tonnes.
Before last year’s harvest season started, the Ministry of Agriculture expected olive oil production to be around 28,000 tonnes and estimated olive production to reach 179,000 tonnes.
According to official figures, the Kingdom’s total olive oil consumption stands around 24,000 tonnes annually, while the average annual per capita olive oil consumption is four kilogrammes, which is below the recommended level of around 10 kilogrammes.
There are around 17 million olive trees in Jordan, generating a yearly income of JD100 million, with an average export worth JD20 million per year, according to Agriculture Ministry figures.
The DoS report stated that a total of 103 oil presses were operating in the Kingdom last year, 101 of which are using advanced technologies.