- Title: ALGERIA: Olive production hit by dry weather
- Date: 8th February 2010
- Summary: FACTORY WORKER SCOOPING COMPRESSED OLIVES INTO GRINDER FACTORY WORKER WATCHING MACHINE SQUISH OLIVES FURTHER MACHINE WHEELS SQUISHING OLIVES BELAID POURING OLIVE OIL INTO BUCKET AND EXPLAINING THAT HIS OIL IS OF A HIGH QUALITY VARIOUS OF OLIVE OIL BEING POUTED INTO BUCKET CARS DRIVING IN STREET OLIVE OIL ADVERTISEMENT ON BUILDING KEMICHE ZUHAIR, MANAGER OF IFRI OLIVE COMPANY, APPROACHING WORKERS PRODUCING OLIVE OIL BOTTLES WOMAN CORKING BOTTLE WOMAN FILLING BOTTLE OF OLIVE OIL / HER CO-WORKER CAPS THE BOTTLE WITH A CORK VARIOUS OF WORKERS IN FACTORY VARIOUS OF WORKERS PLACING LABELS ON BOTTLES ZUHAIR PERFORMING QUALITY CONTROL BY CHECKING BOTTLES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) KEMICHE ZUHAIR, MANAGER OF IFRI OLIVE COMPANY, SAYING: "This year we had a reduction in olive oil production because of climate change. The second reason is down to our use of traditional methods in agriculture and diseases that have hit the olives." BOTTLES OF OLIVE OIL STACKED IN BOXES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) KEMICHE ZUHAIR, MANAGER OF IFRI OLIVE COMPANY, SAYING: "It is vital that we preserve what we have and plant even more trees to harvest new types of olives. We also need to standardise the methods of collecting and producing olives." ZUHAIR ARRANGING BOTTLES OF OLIVE OIL ON DISPLAY EXTERIOR OF OLIVE OIL SHOP VARIOUS OF SHOP CASHIER SELLING TWO BOTTLES OF OLIVE OIL TO CUSTOMER VARIOUS OF BOTTLES OF OLIVE OIL ON DISPLAY SHOP WORKER ARRANGING OLIVE OIL BOTTLES ON DISPLAY UNIT
- Embargoed: 23rd February 2010 12:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA7DYV01ZG059N35YEMOV975YKQ
- Story Text: Algerians are blaming the extremely low yield in this year's olive harvest on climate change. The olive industry is one of the country's major industries.
The beautiful hilly terrain around the Algerian town of Ighzer Amokrane is home to many of the country's olive trees.
But extremely low rainfall over the past year has seen the industry struggle to meet domestic production targets of roughly 55,000-60,000 tonnes of olive oil per year.
Ighzer Amokrane is located in the valley of Soummam in Algeria's Kabylie region and women often make their living by hand picking olives and selling them to local factories.
Boughermouh Ounissa, an olive picker, said the methods used by her and her friends are crucial in maximising yield during a hard hit harvesting year.
"There are a lot of olives available, we gather it using traditional hand-picking methods which allow us to preserve the olive tree, and in turn the tree produces more olives," she said.
"We can live off the olives we produce, prices are continuing to rise and this is a good sign. The amount we produce is enough for our private consumption and we still have a lot over to sell or give away," she added.
But not every olive picker has been as fortunate as Ounissa.
Ahmed Belaid, the manager of a traditional olive oil company, says his factory has processed fewer olives this year and says the government should step in and ease the industry's woes.
"This year we saw a decrease in the production of olive oil in comparison to last year and this is due to the fact that there are fewer olives this year. This reduction in olive production is due to the lack of rain this year compared to last," he said.
"If the state helps us and helps people find work, and the price of olive stays to what it is now, and God blesses us with rainfall, then we will have a good future in this field and we can potentially earn a lot of profit," he added.
Belaid's factory cleans the olives by separating the olives from dirt and leaves, then a grinder forms a paste of olives and water before the paste is either centrifuged or stacked in disks in a press to extract the oil.
Reduced production has made prices higher, and this has scared off some consumers.
Kemiche Zuhair, the manager of the local Ifri Olive company, says the industry needs to do whatever it can to boost production.
"This year we had a reduction in olive oil production because of climate change. The second reason is down to our use of traditional methods in agriculture and diseases that have hit the olives," he said.
"It is vital that we preserve what we have and plant even more trees to harvest new types of olives. We also need to standardise the methods of collecting and producing olives."
Algeria is set to produce 50,000 tonnes of olive oil this year (just over one percent of global production) when the harvest seasonin spring, a little under the 59,000 tonnes achieved last year, according to November figures from the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC).
Nearly all of Algeria's production goes back into domestic consumption, unlike neighbouring Tunisia which accounts for around 20 percent of global exports.
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