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Iran expects significant surge in olive oil production: Official

Iran is expecting a major boost to olive oil production as it seeks self-sufficiency in the sector.

Iranian authorities hope a significant surge in the country’s olive oil production would reduce imports and encourage farmers to use more lands for cultivation of the precious fruit.

An official from Iran’s ministry of agriculture said on Sunday that olive production in the country was expected to increase by more than a third to reach some 120,000 tons at the end of the current Iranian calendar year in March.

Rahmatollah Parichehr said that Iran was seeking to further optimize methods used in olive production by offering technical assistance to farmers across the country.

He said the effort is part of a scheme titled The National Plan for Development of Olive Cultivation and Processing which seeks to increase olive oil production in Iran to a level where the country would have no further needs for import.

Parichehr said that the scheme has managed to increase the lands used for planting olive trees across Iran to 92,000 hectares in 26 out of 31 provinces.

He said a total of 42 olive oil plants are currently active in Iran with a production capacity of more than 91,000 tons, adding, however, that the country is currently importing around a third of its olive oil.

Parichehr said the successful implementation of the government scheme on olive has encouraged more farmers to plant olive trees in their lands during the past years.  

The official said the agriculture ministry has identified some 600,000 hectares of farming lands across Iran which have the potential to be turned into olive farms in future, adding that some 15,000 hectares of such lands would be cultivated by 2021.

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