The Executive Secretariat of the International Olive Council has just been notified by the Office of the United Nations in New York, the depositary of the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives, 2015, of the deposit of the instrument of ratification of said Agreement by Israel on 22 November 2017, whereby the country becomes a Member of the International Olive Council.
The Ambassador of Israel in Madrid, H.E. Daniel Kutner, personally presented this instrument of ratification to the Executive Director of the IOC during the opening of the plenary sitting of the 106th regular session of the Council of Members.
Israel, which signed the Agreement on 29 December 2016, has a long olive growing tradition. In ancient Israel, where nearly every kitchen was equipped with a small press for extracting oil, olives provided food and lighting fuel as well as cooking oil. By the time of the Roman conquest (first century BC), the olive had become one of the most basic dietary items.
Today, the olive remains a popular food and its golden oil is a coveted commodity which is growing rapidly and undergoing modernisation, particularly intensification. The discovery of the health benefits of olive oil has promoted and extended its use.
Israel currently has an olive crop area of 36 000 ha. Its average production of olive oil over the last 5 crop years is of 16 500 t, 82% of which falls under the category of extra virgin olive oil, while the rest is classified as virgin olive oil. Annual per capita consumption of olive oil stands at approximately 2.3 kg. Olive oil is produced in some 90 oil mills, most of which are modern two or three-phase units. The country moreover produces 15 600 t of table olives (average for the last five years). Israelis consume some 2.6 kg of table olives per year.
At 23 November 2017, 13 Members have signed the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives, 2015 (Algeria, Argentina, the European Union, Iran (I.S.), Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay). Of those, five have notified their provisional application of the Agreement (Algeria, Argentina, the European Union, Libya and Morocco). Seven countries have definitively ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the Agreement (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey).