Italy will begin to train farmers in the Kurdistan region to plant olive groves that will in return make olive oil.
"The Italian government provided 789,000 euros for this project,” said Samir Ismael, an agricultural official in Kurdistan.
The International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) will provide support and quality control for the entire process.
The reason for this new initiative is that there are an already 169,400 olive trees in the Kurdistan region that could be used for harvesting olive oil, yet are generally used for other purposes.
More than 1.7 million olive trees from Syria, Turkey, Italy and Spain have been imported to Kurdistan according to officials in order to provide 800 Kurdish farmers the opportunity to grow olives.
“According to the agreement the Italian team will establish the factory in the Kurdistan region in the next 90 days,” Ismael said, also commenting that farmers will receive expert tutelage from the Italian company up until they begin to produce oil.
Additional items such as soap and various olive oil based products will also be produced at the plant.
Although the Kurdish government is establishing the farm and factory, Kurdish olive grove owners will own the farm.
Hashim Kamal, one of the land owners working on the farm as well sais, “We will run the factory with CIHEAM organization.”
The new olive oil factory will be established in the Khabat neighborhood of Erbil. Most of the olive trees in Kurdistan region are in Erbil and Duhok provinces.