Morocco, already the fifth largest producer and exporter of olive oil worldwide, is expanding its plantations and increasing production and quality, looking for larger share of market as it modernises the traditional Mediterranean industry. Silvia Antolioli reports.
Morocco is hoping for a fruitful future and the estimate for this year's olive oil crop is certainly boding well The North African country expects a record-breaking harvest with an increase of nearly 50 per cent from last year This might well lift the nation in the global olive oil exporters ranking where it currently stands in fifth place 19. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF AGRO-POLE OLIVIER, NOUREDDINE OUAZZANI, SAYING: "I believe we should plant more and more olive trees. It will happen because the sector is promising." The country has almost doubled its olive oil output in recent years thanks to investment in the sector and improved production methods. It is also one of the lowest-cost producers, together with Turkey and Tunisia, But it faces growing competition, particularly from some emerging countries in Asia and Latin America. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHAIRMAN OF INTERPROFESSIONAL FEDERATION OF OLIVE INDUSTRY (INTERPROLIVE), RACHID BENALI, SAYING: "Today, there are other countries that are starting to produce such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zeland, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This means that everybody is interested in producing olives but we have to preserve the label of the Mediterranean olive that should be preserved. " Morocco is not yet competing with olive oil superpowers like Spain and Italy but the country's producers hope that time is not far away.