An organic olive oil production unit started production last month in Kilis, a province in south-central Turkey bordering Syria which has doubled in population with the arrival of Syrian refugees fleeing conflict.
The project was made possible with the financial support of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and UNDP (United Nations Development Program).
Established by the Kilis Organic Olive Producers’ Union, the facility processes, packages, and stores olives harvested by local producers and has a production capacity of 80 tons of olive oil per day. Approximately 300 local olive producers are members of the Union and are able to process their olives here and receive a share of the revenue from the sale of the olive oil.
The production unit currently employs 15 workers, a number which is expected to double once it reaches full capacity and also offer employment possibilities to the recently settled Syrian refugees.
The organic olive oil produced here will be marketed under the brand name “Kilizri” and will be available for purchase not only in Turkey but also in other countries.
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Olive oil is a staple of the cuisine in Kilis province and olives are one of its most important agricultural products. The Kilis olive is ideal for olive oil production, with a high oil yield, fine skin and small seed. The olives are also used for soap-making in the region.