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27 October 2013

Olive harvest

The olive harvest usually begins in early November and lasts three months although this year the harvest appears to have started a little earlier.  Whilst some of the olives are kept for consumption as table olives others are turned into olive oil.  According to the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in 2012 Tunisia was the fifth largest olive oil producer in the world and produced 150,000 tonnes.  Olive oil accounted for 27% of Tunisian exports in 2012, source: Ministry of Commerce.
 
The time consuming task of hand-picking the olives from the tree is traditionally carried out by village women.  The olive harvest in Tunisia is done manually whereas in other parts of the world this task has become mechanised with large equipment shaking the tree, this procedure is known as mechanical vibration.
 
Here is a BBC article dating from 2010 entitled, "Tunisia fights for share of olive oil
 market".  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10117450

A selection of olives from the 2013 harvest on sale at the central market (Marché Central)
 
 
A selection of olives from the 2013 harvest on sale at the central market (Marché Central)
 

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