Uzbekistan Joins Olive Council

The Central Asian country became the 18th member of the international organization and plans to dramatically increase olive production.
Market stalls of the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Sep. 20, 2021
Ephantus Mukundi

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On August 31, 2021, Uzbekistan became the 18th mem­ber of the International Olive Council (IOC).

With the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the agree­ment by Uzbekistan, the coun­try becomes a full mem­ber of the International Olive Oil Council shar­ing the objec­tives, mis­sion and oblig­a­tions of this impor­tant inter­gov­ern­men­tal body, the largest forum on olive grow­ing in the world,” said Abdellatif Ghedira, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the IOC.

The acces­sion of our coun­try to an inter­na­tional agree­ment will open up a num­ber of oppor­tu­ni­ties for the fur­ther devel­op­ment of the indus­try in our coun­try.- Shavkat Mirziyoyev, pres­i­dent, Uzbekistan

In June 2020, heads of a del­e­ga­tion meet­ing via video­con­fer­ence unan­i­mously approved Uzbekistan’s appli­ca­tion to join the IOC as an observer. A month later, the Uzbek del­e­ga­tion par­tic­i­pated (in observer sta­tus) in the 111th ses­sion of the IOC via video link.

See Also: Mauritania Seeks to Join Olive Council

During the ses­sion, Jamshid Khodjaev, the Uzbek Minister of Agriculture said the coun­try had a lot of poten­tial for the devel­op­ment of the olive indus­try.

According to data from Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants, Uzbekistan pro­duces about 60 tons of olive oil each year and 30 tons of table olives.

Olives are grown in the two south­ern­most regions of the coun­try, which bor­der Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants esti­mate that there are 210 hectares of olive groves in the coun­try, most of which are tra­di­tion­ally har­vested.

One of the main chal­lenges fac­ing Uzbek olive grow­ers is the country’s low win­ter tem­per­a­tures, which reach a daily aver­age of 4 ºC to 7 ºC from December to February.

Officials from the coun­try said they have devel­oped their own vari­ety of olive known as Uzbek Olive, which is adapted to the local cli­mate. The deci­sion to breed Uzkbek Olives came after sev­eral failed attempts at cul­ti­vat­ing con­ven­tional olive trees in the mid-2000s due to severe freez­ing events.

The acces­sion of our coun­try to an inter­na­tional agree­ment will open up a num­ber of oppor­tu­ni­ties for the fur­ther devel­op­ment of the indus­try in our coun­try,” said Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, fol­low­ing the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the agree­ment.

Uzbekistan plans to estab­lish olive groves on 30 hectares in the Kashkadarya region, far­ther north than most of the country’s groves, and 500 hectares in the Surkhandarya region. They plan to plant 465,000 seedlings of local­ized, frost-resis­tant vari­eties, includ­ing Arbosana, Arbequina and Manzanilla from Spain, and Gemlik from Turkey.

By estab­lish­ing olive groves, Uzbekistan is seek­ing to tap into the lucra­tive $15 bil­lion indus­try. The coun­try also plans to increase other types of veg­etable oil pro­duc­tion for domes­tic con­sump­tion.

Currently, the coun­try pro­duces 55 per­cent of the oil con­sumed domes­ti­cally from soy­beans, cot­ton seeds, sun­flower and imports 45 per­cent to meet the demand.

As of June 2021, the United States Department of State rec­om­mends that no U.S. cit­i­zens travel to Uzbekistan due to the Covid-19 pan­demic. The United Kingdom Foreign Office said most vis­its to Uzbekistan before the pan­demic were inci­dent-free but urged cit­i­zens to be care­ful, espe­cially when trav­el­ing through rural areas.





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