On the Farm: Olives Are a Stable Diet in Jordan 

Published November 27th, 2021 - 08:47 GMT
Olive-picking in Algeria
A worker harvests olives at Hakim Alileche’s grove in Ain Oussera in the Djelfa province, south of the Algerian capital, on October 30 (AFP photo)

ALBAWABA - Jordan is among the world’s top 10 producers of olive, as olive trees cover some one million dunams in Jordan, said the Minister of Agriculture Khalid Hneifat. 

His comment came on the occasion of launching the 21st National Olive Festival in Amman. He was deputizing for King Abdullah according to The Jordan Times

Hneifat pointed out that the Kingdom produces more than 20 types of olives and is home to more than 138 oil presses. In turn, these have a productive capacity of 451 tonnes per hour during the season. 

Princess Basma Bint Ali, chairperson of the board of trustees of the Hashemite Fund for the Development of the Jordan Badia's (HFDJB) attended the launch of the festival. 


This year the national festival is held on an 11,000 square meters of land. It is being increased to 10 days instead of four in an effort to increase the promotion of the olive sector the minister told the Petra News Agency.


This year's event brings together more than 500 women from the countryside and refugee camps, and 18 olive production "kitchens," as well as the owners of the mills and the associations that manufacture traditional foods, rural products and handicrafts, he added.

To add a greater perspective to the importance of olives and olive oil in the Jordan economy The Jordan Times ran a feature on the sector. It starts by saying it is a family affair where all flock to the farms and groves and then mills to experience first-hand olive picking and the oil extraction process, according to farmers and olive producers.


There is a growing trend towards olive picking and tasting experiences in Jordan, said Alaa Mansour, a farmer based in Madaba. “People are now more interested in agriculture and farm life,” Mansour told The Jordan Times, noting that the new trend would positively affect agritourism and encourage farm stays.


Jawdat Manaseer, an olive producer, said that the olive oil picking and tasting services have helped in reviving the sector. “Even schools take their students to olive farms, to give them a glimpse of life on the farm,” he said. When harvest season arrives in October, Manaseer who runs his family’s olive farm, said he usually waits for the first rain to pick the olives as it is considered a family tradition.


“Farmers are the base of the olive oil sector, and harvesting olives has given me the best farmer for a day experience,” Ghadeer Najjar, 24, who recently visited a farm in Amman says.


Olive Oil Producer and Mill Owner Syndicate Spokesperson Mahmoud Al Omari told The Jordan Times that “picking olives 48 hours after a rainfall of over 20 millimetres leads to water entering the fruit, thereby many farmers think that the percentage of oil in the fruit decreases, but actually the quantity of olive oil does not change”.


This year’s olive oil production is similar to 2020’s volume that ranged between 23,000 and 24,000 tonnes, he noted.


Olive trees cover 72 per cent of the agricultural land in Jordan, according to a recent Department of Statistics (DoS) statement.  Approximately, 10.5 million olive trees are planted in over 560,000 dunums, most of which are located in the northern region of the Kingdom, the DoS stated, noting that Jordan also ranked 8th internationally in producing olive oil. 
 


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