Three Libyan Olive Oil Companies Win Awards in Japan


Three olive oil companies from the Libyan city of Garyan won awards at the Japan International Competition.

Companies representing 23 olive oil-producing countries took part in the 11th edition of the International Competition for the Japanese Olive Oil Award (Joop 2023). The Al-Mishkat olive oil won the gold medal in the United category.

The Al-Bustan olive oil won the silver medal in the unilateral category, and the Aryaf oil won the silver medal in the unilateral category as well.

After last year’s drought and failed harvest, Libya witnessed record olive oil production this year. The state agricultural projects established during the Gaddafi regime, especially the Abu Aisha Project and the Tarhuna Agricultural Project are part of the Man-Made River’s Water Utilisation Authority, according to the Libya Herald website.

Yields are reported to be good in the Jabal Al-Hasawneh, Al-Jafara, and the cities of Gharyan and Msallata. The agricultural projects have been implemented with modern, high-density, and annually-producing varieties from Spain and Greece.

In a modern olive press of the Tarhuna Agricultural Project, this year’s harvest is filled according to local and international standards. It is packed in 5-litre metal cans, not transparent glass, to protect it from light, and maintain its quality in accordance with set health standards. The Al-Nahr olive oil gives a high degree of quality at a price of 90 dinars per five-litre can (US$ 3.6/litre).

In an exclusive interview with the Libya Herald, Ashraf Akak, an olive oil producer and owner of the Golden Ghosn press in the Souk Al-Ahad (south of Tripoli) and the Head of the Olive Oil Producers Association, confirmed that Libya’s olive oil production is expected to be a record breaker this year.

He put this year’s production increase specifically to the spread of the Spanish olive tree varieties.

Akak said people had become aware of the importance of cultivating olive trees, especially after the spread of new types of high-density olive trees, including the Arbequina. This is considered one of the best types of olives, and is characterized by its small size, between 2.5-3.0 meters high and 1.2-1.4 meters wide. It produces olives annually, instead of every other year.

As a result of this, he said, Spain obtained first place in the world with a production of more than 1.5 million tons. One of the advantages of Arbequina is that production would begin in the second year, unlike other traditional types that start production from the eighth to the tenth year.

Another type of olive tree, he noted, is the Greek, Koroneiki. Its cultivation has spread in Libya in recent years, and it is used primarily in the production of olive oil. The Koroneiki olive tree is one of the most common types, and is suitable for high-density growing systems all over the world. This ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 trees per hectare, and adopts drip irrigation and harvesting by machines.

Akak concluded by saying that the olive tree is economically one of the most important trees in Libya. Most of the areas planted with olive trees are concentrated on the coastal strip, where there is rain and a moderate climate.

He added that there are about 10-12 million olive trees in Libya, producing an average of 20 kg/tree with 3.1 million trees in the desert areas.

Akak stated that despite the scarcity of rain and drought in recent years, this year’s production is very abundant proving that the cultivation of olive trees in Libya is a promising and guaranteed future for investment.