`Course Promotes Sustainable Development in Tunisia - Olive Oil Times

Course Promotes Sustainable Development in Tunisia

Nov. 28, 2012
Naomi Tupper

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The International University Of Andalucía, (UNIA), ini­ti­ated a new course on Mediterranean olive grow­ing, which was held in the African coun­try of Tunisia this month.

The course, which was con­cluded on the 7th of November, was attended by around 50 stu­dents, includ­ing uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates and tech­ni­cians work­ing in fields related to olive grow­ing. The pro­gram was led by Lourdes Soria, coach for the Andalucían Centre for Rural Development Studies at the uni­ver­sity, but also fea­tured expert guest speak­ers from both the Spanish and Tunisian olive indus­try.

Speakers, includ­ing José Carlos Bautista West, from Jaén GEA Westphalia, Juan Manuel Cabellero and Javer Hidalgo Moya, researchers from the Agrifood and Fisheries Research and Training Institute in Cordova , as well as var­i­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Olive Institute of Tunisia shared their knowl­edge through­out the dura­tion of the course. Participants gained insight into new farm­ing tech­niques, man­age­ment prac­tices, and mod­ern agro­nomic tech­niques.

Lourdes Soria

The course, which was an ini­tia­tive gen­er­ated through the col­lab­o­ra­tion of the UNIA, the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, and the International Olive Council, has been designed to pro­mote the exchange of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge between the Spanish and Tunisian olive sec­tors. The sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of the indus­try was fore­front in the organ­i­sa­tion of the course, with spe­cial focus on man­ag­ing olive tree cul­ti­va­tion and chang­ing growth con­di­tions.

Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie

The olive and olive oil indus­try is of great impor­tance to Tunisia, which is the fourth largest exporter world­wide, after Spain, Greece and Italy, and the largest exporter out­side of the EU. About one-third of Tunisia’s arable land is ded­i­cated to olive groves, how­ever, there is con­cern that cul­ti­va­tion and har­vest meth­ods need to be brought up to date for the sec­tor to con­tinue to grow.

This year, Tunisian olive oil exports were around 25 per­cent greater than the pre­vi­ous year, an increase that may be attrib­uted to good strate­gies to main­tain qual­ity and quan­tity. However, pro­duc­tiv­ity is still thought to require opti­miza­tion, and mod­ern tech­niques such as mechan­i­cal vibra­tion har­vest­ing and more appeal­ing pack­ag­ing alter­na­tives need to be pro­moted.

General Secretary of the Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency, Amel Bil Hadj Kacem stated his inten­tion last year to work with for­eign investors to over­come the prob­lems in the indus­try and to pro­mote Tunisia as a lead­ing oil pro­ducer. Collaborations with Spain, the lead­ing olive oil pro­ducer in the world, are hoped to pro­vide the knowl­edge needed to mod­ern­ize the indus­try and increase the pres­ence of Tunisia in the global olive sec­tor.


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