With 2 million tons of olives harvested this season, Morocco has become the world's fourth largest olive oil producer.
Rabat – Morocco has harvested an estimated 2 million tons of olives this season, an increase by 28 percent compared to the crop last year.
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 on Saturday, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch said that the increase in olive production is due to the “favorable weather conditions.”
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.
At the closing ceremony of the fair, Akhannouch said that Morocco has become the 4th biggest olive oil producer in the world.
Akhannouch emphasized the significance of the main fruit tree cultivated in Morocco. It covers more than 1.07 million hectares, accounting for 65 percent of the tree species in the country.
The olive sector is also a major source for employment, providing 380,000 permanent jobs. Women make up 20 percent of workers in the field.
The sector contributes to the trade balance by ensuring the inflow of foreign currency estimated at MAD 1.8 billion annually.
Morocco’s principale regions for olive production are Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, and Casablanca.
Akhannouch emphasized that olive trees in the Marrakech-Safi region cover an area of 223,600 hectares, constituting 20 percent of the olive areas in Morocco and contributing 487,000 tons, 24 percent, of the national olive production.
Investments in the sector 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.