The olive oil quality is a major problem in the southern and eastern Mediterranean olive producing countries. In these regions, extra virgin olive oil accounts for only 10% of the total production. The remaining output is of poor quality with poor sensory characteristics which renders it unfit for consumption unless it undergoes further refining. The main reason is the over-reliance of processors on traditional mills, which account for 80% of the current production. This situation does not only hamper the market position of the region, but also hinders the international generic promotional campaigns of IOOC and its members.
The central objectives of the project are therefore to promote improvement in the quality of olive oil produced by the eastern and southern Mediterranean olive-producing countries; and to reduce the cost of producing quality olive oil. The attainment of these goals will improve the market competitiveness of olive oil from this region and improve the countries' earnings from olive.
The proposed project would include the following main components: (i) establishment of three pilot demonstration plants; (ii) pilot production of high quality olive oil to demonstrate the production process and establish the technical and economic viability of operating modern olive plants in the region; (iii) training, investment promotion, and technology dissemination; (iv) project monitoring and supervision.