Olive farming is one of the fastest-growing agricultural activities in South Africa and Tanzania hopes its subtropical climate will also support the crop, which fetches high prices on the international market, according to a report in IPPMedia.
Private investors have been investing in subtropical areas that support olive production, said Adam Malima, Tanzania’s deputy minister of agriculture. “There is no reason to make us believe that this crop cannot grow in subtropical areas like our country.”
Tanzania has temperate weather, subtropical and tropical areas conducive to olive production, he said. African countries that grow olives include South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.
The Tanzanian government plans to research olive production potential.
Malima invited research organisations which have shown interest in developing the crop to work with the government on how to “sensitize farmers,” IPPMedia reports.
The government has already imported various olive seedlings to a gene bank in Arusha Region.
Olive farming is a good source of income, the report said. South Africa has enjoyed a growth spurt of the crop.
It’s one of the fastest growing activities in South Africa’s agricultural sector, according to Wayne Rubidge, manager of Pam Golding Properties in the Karoo region.
Demand for olives from foreign markets has boosted production due to low European production and the quality of South African olive oil, IPPMedia reports. Import tariffs are also expected to boost local olive oil production.
“About 68 percent of South Africa’s olive consumption comes from mostly inferior European products, and with the general world shortage, the olive index is up by a massive 50 percent,” Rubidge said.
The country generally has small olive oil consumption patterns, despite its long tradition of olive growing.
In contrast to traditional olive oil-consuming countries, where per-capita consumption of olive oil ranges between 12-36 liters, the average South African consumes 80 milliliters – 0.08 liters a year, he said.