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Table olives: production in the MedAgri region in 2012/13 (fcst.)
Egypt
Morocco
Jordan
Tunisia
World
Table olives: exports from the MedAgri region in 2012/13 (fcst.)
1000 tonnes
Egypt 80
Morocco 70
Jordan 8
Tunisia 2
Region total 160
Olive oil: production in the MedAgri region in 2012/13 (fcst.)
Tunisia
Morocco
Jordan
Egypt
Region total
World
Olive oil: exports from the MedAgri region in 2012/13 (fcst.)
tonnes
Tunisia 160
Morocco 30
Jordan 1.5
Egypt 1
Region total 193
Source: International Olive Council

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and Olive Oil
Table olive figures in the MedAgri region in 2010:
  • The MedAgri region produced about 462 thousand tonnes
  • Egypt was the largest producer in the MedAgri region with about 300 thousand tonnes (65% of total regional production)
  • The MedAgri region produced 152% of what it consumed
  • The MedAgri region exported about 160 thousand tonnes
  • Egypt was the largest exporter with about 80 thousand tonnes (50% of total regional exports)
  • Total domestic consumption in the MedAgri region was about 303 thousand tonnes
  • Egypt had the highest domestic consumption in the MedAgri region with about 220 thousand tonnes (73% of total regional domestic consumption)



Olive oil figures in the MedAgri region in 2012/13:
  • The MedAgri region produced about 362 thousand tonnes 
  • Tunisia was the largest producer with about 220 thousand tonnes (61% of total regional production)
  • The MedAgri region produced 236% of what it consumed
  • The MedAgri region exported about 193 thousand tonnes
  • Tunisia was the largest exporter with about 160 thousand tonnes (83% of total regional exports)
  • Domestic consumption in the MedAgri region was about 153 thousand tonnes
  • Morocco had the highest domestic consumption with about 85 thousand tonnes (56% of total regional domestic consumption)

Olive production is centered in southern Europe, Semiarid Northern Africa and the Middle East and raw olives are used to produce olive oil or are processed into table olives. Processing olives into table olives, which is like a fermentation process, usually involves storing the olive fruit in a brine tank from anywhere between 3 to 12 months to leach out of the bitter chemical compounds to make them suitable to eat. The olive fruit can also first be washed in a lye solution for a period of 8 to 12 hours and then placed in a tank of brine for fermentation. This process takes between one and three months as the olives have been quickly de-bittered. After processing, table olives can be stored in dilute brine, olive oil, or vinegar and sterilized before packing. There are three types of table olive:
  • Green olives - harvested during ripening
  • Olives turning color - harvested just before complete ripeness, when the olive fruits are rose colored
  • Black olives - harvested when fully or almost ripe 

The olive is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as it is the source of olive oil, from which the livelihoods of a large share of the region depends on. Olive oil is the pure oil obtained from olives and is produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil by mechanical means. Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, particularly thermal conditions, that do not lead to alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtration to extract the oil.   

Egypt and Morocco produce more table olives than Tunisia (in 2012/13 fcst. Egypt produced 300 thousand tonnes, Morocco 100 thousand tonnes and Tunisia 24 thousand tonnes), whilst Tunisia produces the most olive oil in the MedAgri region (in 2012/13 fcst. About 220 thousand tonnes) and has 30% of its cultivated land dedicated to olive growing. Tunisia and Morocco are the world's 5th and 7th largest producers of olive oil. Tunisia and Morocco are also the world's 3rd and 6th largest exporters of olive oil. Olive oil is mostly exported in bulk from Morocco and Tunisia to Spain and Italy who further process it into virgin and extra-virgin olive oil, re-packed and branded as a product of these countries.  The world's largest producers and exporters of olive oil are Spain, Italy and Greece. 

Source: International Olive Council

For world and regional olive and olive oil production and trade statistics, please refer to 'Production and trade' in the resource menu below
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