Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie (PTUK), in coordination and cooperation with the Palestinian Plant Production and Protection Society (PPPPS) at Academy, Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, with co-sponsorship of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Jerusalem (FNF), OXFAM, UWAC, PARC, Al-Ard Ltd. Company, and Jother Company organized the Fourth International Conference on Olive in Palestine” ICOP 4th from 19-20 November, 2019, at PTUK campus.
This conference provided a platform for researchers, professionals and experts of local, regional and international levels from various Palestinian universities and abroad to present their research in the various fields of olive and olive oil in Palestine and the Mediterranean region, and discussed the joint issues.
Research topics was covered various olive sectors, olive cultivation, oil production and oil quality, olive history of Palestine and the region, industries production. Additionally, conference topics included:
- Challenges of other production and protection: Olive cultivars, propagation, irrigation and fertilization, cultivation and pruning, impacts of climate change on live production, post harvest techniques, olive diseases, integrated pest management, and biotechnical applications.
- Waste Management: Treatment and management of solid and liquid olive wastes.
- National and International Olive Oil Quality and Specifications: Specifications of Palestinian olive oil, production of organic oil, health benefits of olive oil, marketing, and physical and chemical tests.
- Synergistic role of stakeholder to develop and improve olive sector: The role of governmental institutions, NGO’s, research centers in developing olive sector, olive sector politics, and the role of farmers and agriculture societies in political and legal environments of live sector.
- Role of Biotechnology research in improving olive sector: Application of biotechnology in olive production.
The opening ceremony started by a welcoming address from Prof. Nooraldin Abualrob, President of Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie welcomed the conference attendees and he stressed that the conference is one of the platforms of joint work that must be built upon.
Mr. Waleed Assaf, Minister of the colonization and wall resistance commission stressed the importance of holding this conference, explaining that the olive tree which is an integral part of the Palestinian identity and a symbol of Palestinian survival on their home land.
Mr. Riad al-Atari, Minister of agriculture thanked the organizers of the conference to provide this opportunity to talk about this viable private sector which is one of the most important economic pillars and development . He added that the ministry stets five priorities in the olive sector, including pest control, good practices for caring trees, proper methods of oil storage, develop marketing tools and increasing production of organic oil.
On an other speech, Dr. Ihab Qubbaj the representative of his Excellency Prof Abu Mouis the Minster of Higher education and Research stated that the ministry has taken the responsibility of directing scientific research in Palestinian institutions toward serving the needs of national sectors and ensuring and their sustainability.
Finally Dr. Daoud Abusafieh, the conference chairman thanked participants, sponsors and partners of the conference, explaining that the Palestinian olive sector faces many challenges such as climate change, fragmentation of ownership, the absence of Palestinian sovereignty over their natural resources, low productivity and profitability, high production costs, weak competitiveness in international markets and agricultural pests. He also added that the exchange of information and personal acquaintances will aid future research and lead to fruitful cooperation in order to improve olive sector in Palestine.
The first lecture was given by a keynote speaker , Prof Kostas Chartzoulakis , Ex Director of the Institute for Olive Tree and Subtropical Plants , Crete, Greece, his lecture was about "Olive Growing in the World: Current Situation and Future Perspectives".
In the third session of the second day of the conference, Prof Mucahit T. Ozkaya from Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Turkey presented his lecture entitled: Importance of Olive Germplasm for Agriculture, Economy and Health..
At the end of the conference the participants and experts from national and international levels concluded the following suggestions and recommendations .
- Updating the national strategy for the olive subsector to face the challenges and problems of this subsector.
- Establish an Institute in the country to deal with olive tree and olive products (olive oil an table olives).
- Define characteristics of local olive cultivars in terms of growth requirements and production plus oil quality) and use certified healthy and uniform nursery plants for new plantations.
- Apply good cultural practices (shape pruning, productive pruning irrigation (when to apply and what amount), fertilization (after a soil and leaf analysis, type and quantity), pest and disease management (avoid over-use of chemical to ensure quality), time of harvesting and processing) to existing olive orchards.
- Plan to increase the cultivated area and expand production of table olives to meet the increased demand .
- Providing an accurate and up-to-date database on cultivated area, production and consumption to contribute to planning and developing effective policies to promote this sector.
- Follow the standards during processing (temperature and time) to keep oil quality
- Manage the olive mill by-products (composting, animal feed, heating)
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