Rise in olive oil prices owes to higher production cost — farmers

A tin is filled up with cold-pressed virgin olive oil after pressing. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The price of a 16-liter container of olive oil is selling at 20 percent more than the anticipated average of JD80, which farmers attribute to a rising production cost, particularly the hourly wage of olive pickers.اضافة اعلان

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean cuisine, commonly used in cooking, such as for frying foods, or raw as a salad dressing.

Jordan boasts of 11 million olive trees, whose oil is hailed as liquid gold. Olive oil is produced at the start of the autumn season by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil.

Harvesting takes place in September, or October, depending on the climate and average temperature, or usually following what farmers say must follow the first rainy day of the winter season.

Last month, Minister of Agriculture Khaled Al-Hneifat said that he expected olive oil production at 30,000 tonnes this year, which is nearly 25 percent more than in 2021. He said the quantity is enough to cover local demand, with a bit more that can be exported.

Farmer Muhanna Mousa owns an olive farm in Al-Subaihi in the Balqa Governorate with an estimated area of 20 dunums. He said that the price of olive oil went up because of “rising production costs”.

“This is due to the higher wages of workers, who are now taking JD0.35/kg of olives, as opposed to JD0.25/kg in the previous season,” Mousa told Jordan News.
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean cuisine, commonly used in cooking, such as for frying foods, or raw as a salad dressing.
He said that transportation and plowing wages also increased, but that the Jordanian Contemporary Society “kept the wages of oil pressing fixed, which is estimated at JD0.65/kg of pure oil.”

Bishara Al-Basharat, owner of an olive oil pressing house, said that the price of a tin of oil “will range from JD95–100 this year, compared with JD75–80 during last year”.

He said that it is likely that the price of a tin will decrease toward the end of the season.

Tayseer Al-Najdawi, owner of another olive pressing plant in the Zay region, said that olive production this year is better than last year in terms of quality and quantity.

He told Jordan News that the olives were exposed to cold and heat weather in September, which “led to the improvement of the quality of the fruit, meaning that the ripening of the fruit came late”.

He attributed the higher cost of olive oil to several factors. “Transportation wages to and from the mill are about JD10, but in light of the increase in transportation and fuel costs, they doubled to almost JD20”, he explained.

He pointed out that the high costs of fertilizers and labor are incurred by the farmer. But he explained that oil pressing remained wages have “unchanged for (the past) seven years, which is JD0.650/kg of virgin, cold-pressed olive oil”.

General Syndicate of Jordanian Olive Oil Mills Owners and Olive Producers’ spokesperson Mahmoud Al-Omari said that the increase in the price of olive oil was mainly due “to the high demand for buying oil during the production period”.

He concluded that “local production is expected to achieve self-sufficiency and meet the market needs.”

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