The Executive Director of the International Olive Council (IOC), Mr Abdellatif Ghedira, was received on 6 October 2016 by His Excellence Daniel Kutner, Ambassador of Israel to Spain since August 2015.
During his visit, Mr Ghedira highlighted the importance of Israel within the Organisation as one of its founding Members. Israel, which has held the Chair of the Organisation on two occasions, is an active participant in its activities, namely in connection with various research and development projects, such as the project on genetic enhancement or the project for the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic olive resources, as well as in seminars (genetic resources, carbon footprint and production techniques), courses (for olive oil tasting experts, M.A. programmes, international courses) or training workshops on methods of analysis, and in contributing to different working groups (statistics, value chain, etc.).
Israel currently has an olive acreage of 36 000 hectares, 75% of which is rain-fed. The country produces approximately 15 500 tonnes of olive oil a year, and consumes 19 000. Its imports generally come from Spain, Italy and Turkey. The country produces just over 16 000 tonnes of table olives and imports around 5000 tonnes a year, mainly from Greece, Spain and France.
Mr Ghedira offered his condolences, personally and on behalf of the International Olive Council, on the death in April of Professor Shimon Lavee, highlighting the importance of his contribution to the development of world olive growing and to the work of the IOC over many years, having held the Chair of the institution on two occasions.
The Executive Director provided the Ambassador with information on the IOC programme for the recognition of physico-chemical testing laboratories and tasting panels and upcoming courses and workshops planned by the IOC. He added that grants would be awarded to countries to organise activities surrounding World Olive Day on 26 November. The IOC Executive Director also informed the Ambassador that various IOC officials will be participating in COP22 in November, to talk about the role of olive growing in mitigating the effects of global warming.
Lastly, Mr Ghedira presented the new International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives, 2015, and indicated that member countries have been invited to deposit their instrument of ratification with the Depositary, or submit a notification of provisional implementation, by 31 December 2016.
Mr Kutner thanked the IOC Executive Director for his visit, undertaking to transmit the information relating to the ratification of the Agreement to the competent Israeli authorities.