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Explainers - Finance - News around Africa - December 4, 2018

Morocco becomes 4th Largest Olive Oil Producer in the World

With 2 million tons of olives harvested this season, Morocco is now the fourth largest olive oil producer in the world, an increase of 28 per cent compared to the harvest in 2017.

Minister of Agriculture, Aziz Akhannouch remarked during his visit to El Attaouia province in El Kelaa des Sraghna in the Marrakech-Safi region, at the 5th National Fair of the Olive Tree, that the increase in olive production is due to the “favourable weather conditions.”

Akhannouch emphasized the significance of the main fruit tree cultivated in Morocco which covers more than 1.07 million hectares, accounting for 65 per cent of the tree species in the country.

The olive tree thrives in the Mediterranean climate with yearly temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, rainy winters followed by sunny springs, and hot summers.

The sector is also a major source of employment, providing 380,000 permanent jobs. Women make up 20 per cent of workers in the field and contribute to the trade balance by ensuring the inflow of foreign currency estimated at MAD 1.8 billion annually.

Morocco’s major regions for olive production are Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, and Casablanca.

Akhannouch explained that olive trees in the Marrakech-Safi region cover an area of 223,600 hectares, constituting 20 per cent of the olive areas in Morocco and contributing 487,000 tons, 24 per cent, of the national olive production.

Investments in the industry are driven by the Green Morocco Plan (PMV), which set up 21,000 hectares of new olive plantations between September 2016 and September 2017, with two-thirds of the plantations part of solidarity-based agricultural projects, “Pillar II” of the plan.

The Green Morocco Plan is an ambitious multi-year effort to better develop Morocco’s agricultural sector. The plan has further strengthened Morocco’s agricultural export industry.

The 5th National Fair of the Olive Tree, November 28-December 1, sought to provide a platform for debate to discuss the development of the olive sector and define future challenges. A ministry delegation, the Marrakech-Safi governor, and operators in the sector attended the fair.

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