Final Report on:

Workshop on Good Agricultural Practices
For AARENINA Olive Network Member Countries

19-21 December 2005, Larnaca, Cyprus

Presented to:

Global Forum for Agricultural Research(GFAR)


Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East & North Africa (AARINENA)

February 6,2006

The workshop was organized by the ARI, AARINENA, GFAR & FAO/RNE and was held in Larnaca, Cyprus from 19 to 21 December 2005. The meeting was attended by participants from 11 counties: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Palestine and Cyprus. Most the participants were members of AARINENA Olive Network and representative’s form ICARDA and ESCORENA.
The workshop was mainly dedicated to finalization of the guidelines on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for AARNENA olive producing counties. There were presentations with introductory remarks on GAP by Dr F. Taher, production officer at FAO/RNE, remarks on the application of GAP for olive production in marginal dry areas by Dr A. Tubeileh from ICARDA and presentation of current guidelines on GAP for olives by Dr C. Gregoriou, ARI. There were presentations on Country profiles by Olive Network Focal Point Members and extensive discussions on the various Chapters of the draft handbook on GAP by several working groups in order to modify and adapt the guidelines to the existing conditions of AARINENA countries. All focal points of Working Groups (WG) committed to send their comments to Dr C. Gregoriou (resource person for this meeting) by the end of February 2006.
There was also a special session on AARINENA Olive Network members with presentations on the activities of the Network since its last meeting in Marrakech, December 2004 by the Coordinator of the Network and of the three working groups. During this session Dr A. Trigui, Co-coordinator of ESCORENA Olive Network made a short statement concerning the possibilities for cooperation between the two Networks.
Finally, Dr Saleh Shdiefat from Jordan has been elected as the new Chairman of the Olive Network Board for period of one year.

AARINENA: Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East& North Africa
ARI: Agricultural Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus
ESCORENA:European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture
EU:European Union
FAO/RNE :Food and Agriculture Organization, Regional Office for Near East
GAP: Good Agricultural Practices
GFAR:Global Forum on Agricultural Research
IPGRI: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute ICARDA……….International Center For Agricultural Research in The Dry Areas
PHPWG: Post Harvest & Processing Working Group
PPWG: Production and Protection Working Group
SECWG:Socio – Economic and Commercialization Working Group
COST:European Cooperation in the field of Science and Technological Research
WG:Working Group
WTO :World Trade Organization

1.0 Introduction
The workshop was cosponsored by ARI, AARINENA, GFAR and FAO/RNE and was held in Larnaca, Cyprus from 19 to 21 December 2005. There were participants from 11 Near East and North African countries, members of AARINENA Olive Network and representatives form FAO, ICARDA and ESCORENA.
The main objective of the workshop was the finalization of the guidelines on GAP for Olive in AARNENA countries and holding the annual meeting of AARINENA Olive Network.

1.1 Opening
The opening session was chaired by Dr Mohamed El Kholy the current chairman of the board of the Olive Network. Statements were presented by Dr Fawzi Taher, Production Officer at FAO/RNE and Dr Ibrahim Hamdan Executive Secretary of AARINENA, Dr. Ashraf Tubaila from ICARDA and Dr. Amad Triqui from ESCORENA.
In his statement Dr Fawzi Taher welcomed all the participants and stressed the importance of olive cultivation for AARINENA countries and referred to the technical support that FAO is offering to the AARINENA Olive Network. Before concluding he expressed sincere thanks to the Agricultural Research Institute for the organization of the workshop and wished every success.
Dr Ibrahim Hamdan, after the welcoming of all the participants, he mentioned the links of Cyprus with AARINENA and especially that of ARI which was the first Venue of the Association upn its establishment in 1983. He referred briefly to the AARINENA activities and the future plans and gave emphasis on the beneficial role of the various AARINENA Networks, he welcomed the two new members (Saudi Arabia and Palestine) and urged all members of the Network to be more active for the benefit of all AARNENA olive producing countries. Before concluding his statement, express special thanks GFAR for supporting this meeting and to ARI for hosting the meeting and providing the local logistics and the organization of the meeting and wished the meeting to be successfully concluded.
The opening session was also addressed on behalf of ARI by Dr Costas Gregoriou, Deputy Director of ARI who welcomed the participants from the following 11 AARINENA counties: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Palestine and Cyprus. He referred to the closed links of Cyprus with FAO and AARINENA and he said that the foundation of AARINENA started in Cyprus and the Constitution was adopted by the Technical Consultation held in Nicosia, Cyprus during the period of 17-18 October 1983.
He concluded by thanking all the participants for being in Cyprus for the meeting wished them a pleasant stay and expressed the confidence that their contribution in the preparation of the guidelines on GAP will be beneficial.
Also, he expressed his sincere thanks to the Cyprus Board of Olive Products for their hospitality for providing the official dinner for all the participants.

2.0 Objectives
The objectives of the workshop were:
· The introduction to the participants the concept of the GAP as the application of available knowledge to the use of the natural resource base in a sustainable way for the production of safe, healthy food and non-food agricultural products, in a humane manner, while achieving economic viability and social stability.
· The presentation of the draft guidelines on GAP on olives and their modification during the workshop to make it more adapted to the existing conditions of the AARINENA countries.
· The focal points to review the various chapters of the draft handbook according to their expertise and country situation and suggest the appropriate comments/changes/additions.
· The introduction in the handbook of a chapter after the introduction to refer in particular to the importance of olive crop in AARINENA countries with emphasis on areas, production, productivity, varieties…..etc.
· The introduction in the handbook of a separate chapter with guidelines GAP for harvesting and references for post harvesting handling and processing.
· The annual meeting of AARINENA Olive Network, the presentation of the past and current activities and the future plans.

3.0 Good Agricultural Practices

3.1 Introductory presentations
The second session chaired included three presentations with introductory remarks on GAP and the presentations of the country profiles. The first presentation was given Dr F. Taher with an introduction to GAP. During his presentation he described the general concept of GAP and he stated that the four pillars of GAP guidelines should be: economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially acceptable; inclusive of food safety and quality dimensions. He stressed that Good Agricultural Practices has become an important issue for many developing countries and he also mentioned that the key challenge is how to make agricultural systems more sustainable in a world where food supply chains are increasingly globalized and complex and pressures on farmer’s livelihoods are strong. He concluded that the main objectives of the proposed guideline for GAP are to:
a- Improve the productivity of Olive-based farming systems in the Near East and North Africa countries on sustainable bases.
b- Bringing farmers and facilitators together to do guided and collaborative Olive crop trials.
c- Bringing collaborators to a closer understanding of the crop and its interaction with the local environment.
The second presentation was given by Dr A. Tubeileh from ICARDA who referred to the application of good agricultural practices for olive production in marginal dry areas and he stated the advantages and disadvantages of olive growing in marginal dry areas with emphasis on soil and water management.

3.2 Draft guidelines on GAP for olives
The third speaker was Dr Costas Gregoriou (resource person) presented the draft handbook with the guidelines on GAP. In the proposed draft there are 11 chapters:
1. Introduction,
2. Soil,
3. Water,
4. Design of new grove-selection of variety (ies) and planting distance,
5. Tree training and pruning methods,
6. Irrigation,
7. Fertilization,
8. Alternate Bearing,
9. Weed management,
10. Pest and disease control and
11. Resource materials
Dr Gregoriou highlighted the content of each one of the above chapters.
He concluded that the draft handbook which has been prepared contains general guidelines on GAP on olive cultivation and should be modified during the workshop in order to be adapted to the existing conditions of the AARINENA countries.

3.3 Country profiles
The workshop continued with the presentations of the country profiles. The focal points of Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Jordan and Palestine presented the recent status of olive cultivation in their countries and some of them addressed topics related to the GAP in their countries such as the management of main resources, establishment of orchard and cultural practices.

4.0 Working Groups – Discussions on GAP
The third session chaired by Dr C. Gregoriou was dedicated to the discussion of topics related to GAP. The session started with a presentation of Dr F. Taher
on GAP with emphasis on food safety and gave information on safety aspects and touched environmental factors. He presented the associated hazards in relation to food safety, environment and agricultural inputs such contamination of soil, water etc. He gave important information on a wide range of topics from planting to harvesting and presented simple, practical but very useful practices in order to achieve the concept of GAP.
During the discussions the participants underlined the importance of the development of the guidelines on GAP for the AARINENA olive producing countries and expressed their interest and wiliness to help towards the finalization of the draft handbook. The guidelines to be modified and to make them more adapted to the existing conditions of the AARINENA countries, the participants were divided into working groups according to their specialization as follows:

Pamphlet 0 (Chapter 1, Introduction and new chapter on the importance of olive cultivation in AARINENA countries- profiles)

  • Costas Gregoriou (Cyprus)

    Pamphlet 1 (Chapters. 4, 5, and 8)
    Chapter 4: Site selection and design of new groves, germplasm conservation and variety selection, and planting distance, nursery and   propagation
    Chapter 5: Tree training and pruning methods
    Chapter 8: Alternate bearing

  • ElHadi Khalaf (Libya)

  • Mansour Al-Dalas (Yemen)

  • Sallal Essa Al-Mutairi (Saudi Arabia)

  • Androula Georgiou (Cyprus)

  • Belkassem Boulouha (Morocco) Focal point

  • Ahmed Trigui (ESCORENA)

    Pamphlet 2 (Chapters. 2, 3, 6, and 7)
    Chapter 2: Soil
    Chapter 3: Water
    Chapter 6: Irrigation
    Chapter 7: Fertilization
    Mohamed El-Khouly (Egypt) Focal point
    Ikram Saad-Eldin (Egypt)
    George Eliades (Cyprus)
    Ashraf Tubeileh (ICARDA)
    Ali Asghar Zeinanloo (Iran)

    Pamphlet 3 (Chapters. 9 and 10)
    Chapter 9: Weed management
    Chapter 10: Pest and disease control
    Mohieddine Ksantini (Tunisia) Focal point
    Nicos Serafides (Cyprus)

    Pamphlet 4 (New Chapter: harvesting, by-products, and reference to post-harvest issues)
    Saleh Shdiefat (Jordan) Focal point
    Anwar Ibrahim (Syria)
    Haytham Khoury (Jordan)
    Ismail Abu-Zinada (Palestine)

    5.0 Concluding remarks concerning GAP finalization
    The fourth session chaired by Dr F. Taher was dedicated to discussions by working groups in order to prepare the final guidelines on GAP adapted to the existing conditions of the AARINENA countries. At the end of the session each focal point presented the comments/suggestions of the corresponding working groups.
    It was agreed that all focal points finalize and send the comments/suggestions of the working groups to Dr Costas Gregoriou by the end of February, 2006.
    The session was concluded with the following:

  • The guidelines prepared will be modified to make it more adapted to the existing conditions of the AARINENA countries.

  • There is a need to introduce another chapter after the introduction to refer in particular to the importance of olive crop in AARINENA countries with emphasis on areas, production, productivity, varieties…..etc.

  • Harvesting, post harvesting handling and processing are also important topics and will be included in a separate chapter in the final handbook.

    6.0 Annual meeting of AARINENA Olive Network
    At the end of the workshop and before the field trip there was a special session (fifth) dedicated to AARINENA Olive Network. The session was chaired by Dr Ibrahim Hamdan and included presentations by Coordinator of AARINENA Olive Network and the coordinators of the three Network Working Groups who presented the activities for the period from December 2004 to December 2005.
    6.1 Olive Network Coordinator Progress Report
    Dr Boubaker Karray, coordinator of the Network stated that the network covers 14 countries included the two new members which are Palestine and Saudi Arabia. He mentioned that AARINENA member countries have the same problems (drought, marginal zone, low productivity, low quality of olive production, insufficient cooperation and exchange of information and lack of coordination among institutions, universities and private sector) and he stated the importance of the Network in filling the gap. He also stressed the support of AARINENA, GFAR, ICARDA, IPGRI and FAO to the Network and expressed his appreciation.
    He referred to the major achievements of the Network which were the following:
    1. Establishment of database concerning olive sector in the AARINENA countries: National statistics, policies, main constraints and potentialities of development, institutions, researchers, universities, profession, programs of research in progress, acquirements of research. (Sources: national reports and FAO database)
    2. Preliminary study of the olive oil sector in the AARINENA countries
    3. Organization of the first olive network meeting (Marrakech Morocco) 20-22
    December 2004
    In concluding he admitted that there were weaknesses and that the Network in general was not enough active and that some focal points were not functional. He attributed the difficulties in the proper functioning of the secretariat to lack of financial resources.
    6.2 Post Harvest & Processing WG activity
    Eng. Haytham Khoury, coordinator of the Post Harvest & Processing Working Group in his presentation referred to the objectives of the WG which are:

  • Development of the overall post-harvest technology processes

  • Contributing toward development of olive harvesting machinery, processing lines, storage and packaging of olive products.

  • Development of quality control and safety procedures for olive products
    He stated the present priorities are:
    1. Training courses, seminars or workshops for researchers, extension
    agents, producers and technicians on subjects related to:
    -  Quality preservation, standards and safety procedures for olive products.
    -  Management of olive mill and processing operations.
    -  Olive oil storage, filling, packaging and labelling.

    6.2. Establishment of a database on post-harvest and processing technology
    for olive oil and table olives. 
    The PHPWG has proposed a regional project on “quality improvement of olive oil and table olives”, with the aim of solving problems of post-harvest and processing for olive oil and table olives, apply new techniques and transfer of technology to farmers and producers.

    6.3 Socio -Economic and Commercialization WG activity

    Dr. Anwar AL IBRAHIM, coordinator of Socio – Economic and Commercialization
    Working Group referred to the following general work plan of the SECWG
    1- Adoption of quality standards for the olive products compatible with WTO (World Trade Organization) and international organizations and economic groups.

    2-Market analyses to evaluate the market needs, the consumer attitudes and the future trends.

    3- Establishing of efficient Extension programs targeting especially women, at all levels in the production chain.

    4-Proposal at the universities level in the related disciplines for post degree programs for the students

    5 Reinforcing the link between the extension and the agricultural research centers- & prepare common programs for research and training of farmers and stakeholders

    6- Establishing links between the governmental, non governmental organizations and the private sector.

    7 - Creation of a web page on olive and information system for the diffusion including the national, international trade and the economic forecasts.

    8- Promotional campaigns through internet, media, web pages, schools, commercial centers etc., both abroad and locally.

    9- Healthy approach and attribution for the olive and olive oil products both as nutritional value and as to introduce it in the functional foods.

    10- Marketing programs to stimulate the consumer’s demand for the olive products and for the young generation

    6.4 Production and Protection WG activity
    Dr Ikram Saad El-Din, coordinator of Production and Protection Working Group (PPWG) stated that during the last few months the PPWG had proposed the following projects:
    4. Draft proposal for drought resistance in olive orchards in Southern countries of the Mediterranean region.
    5. Two regional projects on organic olive growing and biological control of olive pests.
    6. A working plan in order to develop the olive sector in Egypt and gave details for the objectives and the methodology for each one of the proposals.

    6.5 ESCORENA progress
    Dr Ahmed Trigui requested from the chairman to address the workshop on behalf of ESCORENA Olive Network in his capacity as one of the two co-coordinators of the Network. During his presentation he stated that the European Cooperative Research Network on Olives is one of the eleven active networks working within ESCORENA (European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture) and its aims are to:
    - promote the voluntary exchange of information and experimental data,
    - support joint research projects and to
    - facilitate the sharing of expertise, germplasm and technologies.
    As he mentioned the restructuring of the Network, the selection of priority areas and the formulation of a programme of activity took place at the symposium held, in collaboration with AARINENA in February 2004, in Sfax, Tunisia and AARINENA meeting in Marrakech (December 2004) was the occasion to ESCORENA Co-Coordinators to point out some prior activities using –first- Spanish Trust Funds and to propose the possibility of developing joint activities.
    He continued stated that FAO- ESCORENA urged the Coordinators of the ESCORENA Olive Network to participate in AARINENA Olive Network Meeting in Cyprus with the aim to promote the cooperation between the two Networks.
    According to Trigui FAO decided last week to reserve to ESCORENA Olive Network a budget since 2006 and project proposals will be submitted by ESCORENA Coordinators to COST and/or EU Framework Program with the objective the transfer of technology from EU Countries to AARINENA countries and AARINENA Countries interested in participating in such projects have to contact ESCORENA Coordinators. Finally, he said that Dr Luis Rallo, the Co-coordinator of ESCORENA Olive Network will published the first number of OLEA bulletin in December 2005.

    6.6 Elections
    At the end of the special session Dr Saleh Shdiefat from Jordan has been elected as new Chairman of the Olive Network Board.

    6.7 Closing
    Before closing the workshop the Chairman Dr I. Hamdan urged once again all members of the Network to be more active for the mutual benefit of the Olive Network and all AARNENA olive producing countries.
    Taking the floor the Coordinator of the Network Dr B. Karray, stated that he will do the best in order to keep the Network active.
    Dr I. Hamdan declared the closing of the Workshop and whished to all participants a safe trip back home.

    7.0 Workshop Program
    Monday, 19 December 2005
    8:30- 9:00 Registrations
    9:00 -9:30 Opening session:……… Chairman. Mohamed El Kholy
    Statements by Representatives of:FAO, AARINENA, ARI (Cyprus)
    Session II: Introductory Remarks
    9:30 -10:0 Introduction to GAP……………………………….F.Taher
    10:00-10:15 ICARDA Presentation on GAP…………………..A. Tubeileh
    10:15-10:45 Current guidelines on GAP for Olives C.Gregoriou
    10:45- 11:00 Coffee breaks
    Presentation of Country profiles……… Chairman. S. Shedeifat
    11:00-11:15 Morocco Country profile
    11:15-11:30 Tunisia Country Profile
    11:30-11:45 Libya Country Profile
    11:45-12:00 Egypt Country profile
    12:00-12:15 Cyprus Country Profile
    12:15-12:30 Saudi Arabia Country Profile
    12:30- 02:00 Lunch break
    02:00-02:15 Syria Country Profile
    02:15- 02:30 Iran Country Profile
    02:30-02:45 Yemen Country Profile
    02:45- 03:00 Jordan Country Profile
    03:00- 03:15 Palestine Country Profile
    03:15: 03:45 Coffee break
    Session III: Discussion topics:……………Chairman. C. Gregoriou
    03:45-4:15 Presentation on GAP with Emphasis on Food Safety, F. Taher

  • Summary of morning presentations

  • Table of generalities arising from morning session

  • Are research guides needed? Where? For what level? What topics?

  • Introduction to each chapter philosophy and content.
    Chapters will be addressed in decreasing importance, delegating a person to each topic. If new important topics arise, a volunteer will be asked to rough out that chapter.
    Tuesday 20 December 2005
    Session IV: Discussion by working groups ………Chairman, F. Taher
    9:00-11:00 Preparation of the new guidelines.
    11:00-11:30 Coffee break
    11:30-13:30 Preparation of the new guidelines (continue).
    13:30-15:00 Lunch break
    15:00-17:00 Preparation of the new guidelines (continue)
    Wednesday: 21 December 2005
    Session IV: Discussion by working groups (Continued), Chairman F.Taher
    9: 00- 11:00 Focal Points Presentations for preparation of the final version
    of guidelines.
    11:00-11:15 Coffee break
    Special session (V): AARINENA Olive Network, Chairman I. Hamdan
    11:15- 11:30 Election of Olive Network Chairman of the Board
    11:30-11:45 Current olive activities in the region (Coordinator of AARINENA
    Olive Network)
    Presentation of Olive Network Working Groups Coordinators (WG):
    11:45-12:00: Post Harvest -Jordan
    12:00-12:15 Socio-Economic & Commercialization- Syria
    12:15-12:30 Production &Protection-Egypt
    12:30-13:00 closing of the workshop.
    13:00-18:00 Lunch and Field trip

    8.0 List of participants

  • Jordan
    1.Dr. Saleh Shdiefat-
    E-mail: ,
    2.Mr. Haytham Khoury-

  • Egypt
    3.Eng. Mohamed El Kholy-,
    E-mail: ,
    4.Dr. Ikram Saad-eldin


  • Tunisia
    5.Dr. Boubaker Karray-
    6.Dr. Mohieddine Ksantini- 


  • Morocco
    7..Dr. Belkassem Boulouha-

  • Lybia
    8.Dr. ElHadi Khalaf

  • Syria
    9.Dr. Anwar Ibrahim

  • Yemen 
    10.Dr. Mansour Aldalas,
    E-mail: ,

  • Iran
    11.Dr. Ali Asghar Zeinanloo-,

  • Palestine
    12.Mr. Ismail Abu Zinada

  • Saudi Arabia
    13.Mr Sallal Essa Al Mutairi,

  • Cyprus
    14.Costas Gregoriou,
    15.Mr George Eliades, Cyprus
    16. Dr Androula Gergiou
    17. Mr. Nicos Serafides, Cyprus


    18.Dr Ahmed Trigui

    19.Dr. Fawzi Taher ,


    20. Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan


    21.Ashraf Tubeileh -,