Award-Winning Producer Emphasizes Sustainable Expansion in the Jordan Desert

Jordan’s only award-winning producer at the 2022 NYIOOC reflects on the role of preserving the environment on quality and prepare for the post-Covid world.

The groves of Al-Maida Agricultural
By Wasim Shahzad
Jul. 15, 2022 14:04 UTC
The groves of Al-Maida Agricultural

Despite enter­ing a record num­ber of extra vir­gin olive oil sam­ples into the com­pe­ti­tion, Al-Maida Agricultural was the only Jordanian pro­ducer to tri­umph at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Located in the desert of cen­tral Jordan, the com­pany earned a Gold Award for a medium Arbosana and two Silver Awards for a pair of medium Arbequinas.

Expansion is always in our plans, as well as con­tin­u­ing to develop the ecosys­tem of our farm and pre­serv­ing our nat­ural resources.- Amelia Bilbeisi, co-owner. Al-Maida Agricultural

This is the sec­ond year for us to enter and win at the NYIOOC,” said Amelia Bilbeisi, the co-owner of Al-Maida Agricultural. As the only Jordanian pro­ducer to win this year, it makes us very proud, with the field becom­ing more com­pet­i­tive each year.”

According to International Olive Council data, Jordan pro­duced 24,500 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year, slightly down from the pre­vi­ous har­vest but nar­rowly above the rolling five-year aver­age.

See Also:Producer Profiles

While most of the country’s pro­duc­tion is des­tined for domes­tic con­sump­tion, Bilbeisi said her com­pany man­ages to export some of its olive oil. Winning awards at the NYIOOC helps the com­pany gain name recog­ni­tion in the inter­na­tional mar­ket.

We are absolutely ecsta­tic with the awards we have achieved at the 2022 NYIOOC,” Bilbeisi said. It is a huge reward and val­i­da­tion for our efforts, espe­cially with the chal­lenges of the last few years.”

Winning at the NYIOOC def­i­nitely increases respect for our brand in the olive oil com­mu­nity and moti­vates us to pur­sue the ambi­tions we have in improv­ing our craft,” she added.

For pro­duc­ers in the cen­tral Jordanian desert, the cli­mate is always chal­leng­ing, espe­cially in the months lead­ing up to the har­vest.

Changing envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions are a chal­lenge each sea­son, and we adjust and adapt accord­ingly to what Mother Nature presents through­out the year,” Bilbeisi said.


Amelia Bilbeisi

Like many other NYIOOC-win­ning pro­duc­ers, Bilbeisi said the company’s holis­tic approach to olive oil pro­duc­tion sets it apart from the com­pe­ti­tion.

Our focus has always been qual­ity and envi­ron­ment and improv­ing both in har­mony with each other,” she said. We have high stan­dards and will not pro­duce any­thing we are not proud of.”

As a pro­ducer that offers vari­eties not grown by other farm­ers in Jordan, we believe our pas­sion­ate ded­i­ca­tion to under­stand­ing our trees and ter­roir con­tribute to what makes our oil unique and dif­fer­ent from sim­i­lar cul­ti­vars grown in other parts of the world,” Bilbeisi added.

Bilbeisi said the pre­vi­ous har­vest came as a reprieve despite the peren­nial chal­lenges asso­ci­ated with olive oil pro­duc­tion. The Covid-19 pan­demic resulted in a dif­fi­cult cou­ple of years for pro­duc­ers and the coun­try more broadly.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University coro­n­avirus research cen­ter, more than 14,000 peo­ple died of Covid-related com­pli­ca­tions in Jordan, a coun­try of roughly 11 mil­lion peo­ple.


Al Maida Agricultural olive groves

While it was a stren­u­ous time for the indus­try, Al-Maida Agriculture used the pan­demic to plan for the future.

During the pan­demic, we took the oppor­tu­nity to think clearly about our plans for the next five years and pri­or­i­tize them,” Bilbeisi said. We also planted a new vari­ety, Oleana. Although we only pro­duced a small amount for per­sonal use.”

We were highly encour­aged by its poten­tial and are excited to add it to our selec­tions this com­ing har­vest sea­son,” she added.

However, this expan­sion will not come at the expense of the envi­ron­ment. Bilbeisi said her team would also con­tinue to develop the ecosys­tem of their farm and pre­serve their nat­ural resources.

Expansion is always in our plans, as well as con­tin­u­ing to develop the ecosys­tem of our farm and pre­serv­ing our nat­ural resources,” Bilbeisi con­cluded. As a fam­ily-run sin­gle estate, we love what we do and pass that pas­sion on in our craft.”

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