Egypt to plant one million olive trees in Sinai: Minister

Ahram Online, Monday 7 Oct 2013

Egypt is the world's top producer of table olives but is limited by underdeveloped post-harvest practices

(Photo: Reuters)

Egypt plans to cultivate one million new olive trees in Sinai, agriculture and land reclamation minister Ayman Farid Abou-Hadid announced in a statement Sunday.

The project will be executed in collaboration with the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development as part of the celebrations marking the fortieth anniversary of Egypt's 1973 war with Israel.

The statement did not elaborate on the project's cost, nor on the expected production volume or the amount of land that will be taken into cultivation.

Some 79919.6 feddans of Egyptian land are currently devoted to olive cultivation, 25 percent of which is located in the North Sinai governorate, according to the Central Administration for Agriculture Education.

Table olives account for about 85 percent of Egypt's total olive production, the International Olive Council reports.

Egypt produced an average of 413,000 tons of table olives per year from 2007 to 2011.  In 2011 alone, Egypt produced more than 13 percent of the world's table olives, making Egypt the top global producer of this type of olive.

From 2007 to 2011, Egypt was one of the top consumers and exporters of table olives, consuming an average of 330,000 tons and exporting an average of 89,500 tons per year. In 2011, Egypt and Argentina – Egypt's main competitor in international markets – exported 12 percent and 11 percent of the world's table olive exports, respectively.

The olive sector currently employs 30,000 Egyptians, but weaknesses in post-production have caused Egypt to miss out on export expansion opportunities, the CNFA, an American cultivating entrepreneurship, says.

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