The Executive Board of the Common Fund for Commodities recently approved a project on “Economic Valorization of Olive Genetic Resources, Creation of Pilot Demonstration Nursery Centres – Quality Enhancement through Nursery Development”. CFC developed the project in collaboration with the International Olive Council (IOC) as the second phase of another completed project on “Conservation, Characterization, Collection and Utilization of Genetic Resources in Olive”, which had enabled the conservation of 310 local olive varieties specific to the climatic and environmental conditions of the Mediterranean Basin.
The new project will be implemented by the Institut de l’Olivier (IO) in Sfax, Tunisia with activities in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. The project aims to improve productivity and quality of the olive crop, raise the earnings of olive farmers and adding value to the commodity. In each target country the project will develop one pilot nursery centre with a minimum production capacity of 25,000 olive plants per year. The pilot nursery will serve as a centre of excellence for the demonstration of modern propagation techniques and updated technologies in plant nursery production. High quality, high yielding and pest free olive plants of selected local varieties adapted to specific environments, climates and soil proprieties and complying with optimal phytosanitary standards, will be propagated and distributed to farmers.
The project enables the farmers to respond to the trend of a worldwide increasing demand for olive oil and the expansion of olive cultivation in the Mediterranean basin. Project benefits will come from the increased value (volume and quality) of olive production and improved skills of farmers and nursery technicians in the four selected countries. The establishment of pilot nurseries will spread best practices and technology to other nurseries and create a multiplier effect which will by the same token increase the number of beneficiary farmers. The pilot nurseries will charge a selling price per plant to the farmers in line with the costs of production in order to reach more poor farmers. The price charged to the farmers will be used to finance a wider range of services for nursery centers and farmers. Project duration is four years and after project completion, it is expected that more commercial rates will be charged by the nursery managers for the plants. The project will convince farmers and olive stakeholders about the importance of sourcing certified quality plant material. The total project cost is USD 1,700.000 of which USD 900.000 is a CFC grant, and USD 800.000 shall be contributed as counterpart contributions by the four countries.