EghtesadOnline: Olive production is estimated to reach 120,000 tons in the current fiscal year (started March 21) to register a 20% increase compared with last year's output, the executive manager of the Agriculture Ministry’s "Olive Project" said.
Rahmatollah Parichehr added that olive oil production is expected to stand at 8,000 tons, registering a 14.3% rise year-on-year, IRNA reported.
“Domestic demand for olive oil exceeds 12,000 tons per year. Last year, more than 3,500 tons of olive oil were mainly imported from Turkey, Italy, Spain and Greece,” he added.
According to Parichehr, currently, Iran has 90,000 hectares of olive orchards, of which 56,000 hectares bear fruit, Financial Tribune reported.
“At present, 40,000 Iranians earn their living from olive cultivation,” he said.
According to the Agriculture Ministry’s head of the Expansion and Improvement of Olive Orchards Group, Mahmoud Emami, per capita olive oil consumption in Iran currently stands at 180 grams per year, up from 135 grams last year, while the average amount is closer to 11 kilograms in Europe.
Emami noted that the average global per capita olive oil consumption is at 430 grams—about three times more than in Iran.
However, Iranians eat more olive in brine, according to Emami, because of which per capita consumption in Iran stands at 850 grams against 360 grams in the world.
“The quality of Iran’s olive and olive oil is unrivaled, because of the country’s distinctive climate. Olive tree is subtropical and so are most regions in Iran. Olive trees are exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time here, which is a comparative advantage for olives cultivated in our country,” he said.
The Agriculture Ministry plans to increase olive production to around 200,000 tons per year by 2022 and increase per capita consumption of olive oil to 190 grams per year.
Leading olive growing regions in Iran include Fars, Kerman, Hormozgan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Qazvin, Gilan, Golestan and Zanjan provinces.