‘‘A gallon of olive oil is worth more today than a gallon of oil’’ said the Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohamed Hwej, during his speech in a workshop in Tripoli Sunday entitled “Planting of Intensive Olive Trees in Libya” and under the slogan “The Olive Tree and Advancing the Wheel of Development”.
Intensive olive trees are dwarf olive tree varieties that are planted around 4 metres apart and start producing from year two of their life. They also produce annually but need irrigation. Traditional olive trees do not need irrigation, are planted around 12 meters apart, don’t produce for the first 3 to 4 years and don’t produce annually.
The event was organized by the water investment arm of the Man-made River Authority in cooperation with the Libyan Association for Agricultural Economics.
Several papers were presented on the intensive olive oil production in the Authority’s projects reflecting challenges and growth rates and forecasting the repercussions of olive production in the Libyan economy for the period 2023-2027.
The workshop gave several examples of international projects of intensive olive tree planting projects using the famous Greek Koroneiki and Spanish Arbequina and Arbosana varieties. It also displayed comparative production figures from the rest of the world with production in Libya.
It was concluded that Libya must take advantage of its Mediterranean location and implement an intensive olive tree planting campaign through a public private partnership programme as one of the easiest forms of economic diversification.
It will be recalled that Libyan olive oil has recently won several international olive competitions.