- South Africa consumes around six million litres of olive oil annually. South Africa is a net importer and so prices are linked to import parity prices.
- The olive industry in South Africa produces less than a third of the oil consumed in the country. It is a small role player in global terms and has the potential to create more than 10 000 permanent jobs and 30 000 seasonal jobs. Imported olive oil is subsidised and cheaper, one of the impediments to creating further employment in this sector.
- The climate in the Western Cape is ideal for growing olives, especially around towns like Paarl, Robertson and Montagu. Olives can also be produced in certain summer rainfall areas, under irrigation, as happens in Hartswater in the Northern Cape. Harvesting can be done mechanically or by hand. The latter yields a better product but is more labour intensive.
- Olive farming is a long-term investment, with a return on investment only showing four to five years after planting.
- Olives are an important crop for South Africa having high growth potential while also being labour intensive (Sihlobo, 2018).
International business environment
- World consumption of olive oil is between 3,1 and 3,2 million tons per year.
- The largest producers in the world are Spain, Tunisia and Italy. Other major producers are Morocco, Greece, Algeria, Egypt, Portugal, Syria and Turkey.
Find information at:
- International Olive Council – www.internationaloliveoil.org
- Olive Oil Times, www.oliveoiltimes.com
- News on olives “from all around the world”, www.olives101.com
Recognised as “the most comprehensive resource for products, trends, and information on everything related to olive oil”, www.oliveoilsource.com
South Africa: imports and exports
Local production of olive oil only satisfies a third of consumption in South Africa, with the rest needing to be imported.
- South Africa mostly imports olive oil from Spain (69%) and Italy (21%) (Hortgro-SA Olive, 2018)
- South Africa exports olive oil mostly to other SADC countries, with the top countries being Namibia (29%), Botswana (15%) and Zambia (9%) (Hortgro-SA Olive, 2018)
- Fresh or chilled olives went to Namibia (26%), Lesotho (17%) and Botswana (13%) (Hortgro-SA Olive, 2018)
- SA Olive Industry Association (SA Olive) Tel: 021 870 2900 www.saolive.co.za Find information on the Commitment to Compliance (CTC) seal on the website. Since 2020, a levy of 8c/kg on all table olives and 40c/litre on all olive oil must be paid by producers, processors and importers when they first sell their product.
- National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) Tel: 012 341 1115 www.namc.co.za Statutory levies for the olive and other agricultural sectors are processed here.
Training and research
- ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij Carlo Costa Tel: 021 809 3100 www.arc.agric.za
- University of the Free State Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology Division of Food Science Prof. Arno Hugo Tel: 051 401 2729 HugoA [at] ufs.ac.za
- Alfega International Tel: 011 608 1188 www.alfega.co.za
- Andreas Tel: 021 873 2268
- Babylonstoren Tel: 021 863 3852 www.babylonstoren.com
- Baleia Tel: 028 713 1214 www.baleiawines.com
- Blue Sky Organics Tel: 028 581 2014 www.blueskyorganics.co.za
- Chaloner Tel: 021 880 0130 www.chaloner.co.za
- Darling Romery www.darlingromery.co.za
- De Hut Olive Farm & Nursery Tel: 023 340 4775 www.dehutolivetrees.co.za
- Drakenstein Olives Tel: 021 868 3185 www.drakensteinolives.co.za
- Foxenburg Estate Tel: 021 873 5617 www.foxenburg.co.za
- Gabriëlskloof Wine & Olive Estate Tel: 028 284 9865 www.gabrielskloof.co.za
- Greenleaf Olive Co Tel: 021 556 9996 www.greenleafoliveco.co.za
- Klein Namaquafontein Tel: 072 857 8027
- Kleinood Tel: 021 880 2884 www.kleinood.com
- L’Ormarins Tel: 021 874 9004 www.rupertwines.com
- Mardouw Olives Estate Tel: 071 141 9941 http://mardouw.com
- Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate Tel: 021 852 1738 www.morgenster.co.za
- Mount Ceder Olives Tel: 021 863 3282 www.mountcederolives.co.za
- Oakhurst Olives Tel: 023 230 0842 www.oakhurstolives.co.za
- Olives Go Wild Sanlin [at] olivesgowild.co.za www.olivesgowild.co.za
- OlivesInFact Tel: 083 300 4703 www.olivesinfact.com Consultant
- Olives SA Tel: 053 474 0061 www.olivessouthafrica.com
- Olyfberg Tel: 023 342 5096 www.olyfberg.co.za
- Orion Olives Tel: 082 828 1334 www.orionolives.co.za
- Porterville Olives Tel: 083 675 3466 www.andanteoliveoil.co.za
- Prince Albert Olives Tel: 023 541 1687 www.princealbertolives.co.za
- Rio Largo Olive Estate Tel: 082 688 0578 www.riolargo.co.za
- Rosanna Olive Estate Tel: 021 986 0010 / 0004 www.rosannaolives.co.za
- Vesuvio Olive Estates Tel: 021 869 8571 www.vesuvioestates.co.za
- Wildekrans Wine Estate Tel: 028 284 9902 https://wildekrans.com
- Willow Creek Olive Estate Tel: 023 342 5793 www.willowcreek.co.za
Websites and publications
- Visit the websites of companies listed earlier on this page. Several of them include general information about olives, including the health aspects.
- www.saolive.co.za is a vital stop for information about olives and the South African olive industry. Amongst the information are notes for growing olives and standards for nurseries. There is also information about available publications and DVDs. These include (i) Olive Production in South Africa, (ii) Olive Oil: A Field Guide, (iii) Olive Growing Manual, and (iv) Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.
- Available from ARC-Agricultural Engineering (ARC-AE) is the publication “Agro-processing of Olives and Legumes (green peas, green beans, cowpeas, lentils, olives, peanuts, mushrooms)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za.
- Table Olive Processing Made Easy by Linda Costa. Find details at www.olivesinfact.com.
- Costa, C. 1998. Olive Production in South Africa: A Handbook for Olive Growers. Nelspruit: ARC-Tropical and Subtropical Crops.
- Find news and information at http://olive-central.co.za.
- Find the history of olives and notes on the South African olive sector at www.rosannaolives.co.za.
- The AgriSETA Assessment Guide Primary Agriculture “Monitor the establishment of a crop” includes orchard trees. Another relevant learner guides include “Harvesting agricultural crops”.
- Find the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) olive notes at www.fao.org/nr/water/cropinfo_olive.html
- Find “Links, books & articles” at http://olivesgowild.co.za.
- Find the olive tree information at https://wikifarmer.com/olive-tree-information/.
- Read about a a visit to Klein Namaquafontein. Olive oil is one of the products. The blog is here.
- Jooste R. 2020, November 23. “Pandemic or not, SA’s olive oil production jumps”. Daily Maverick. Available at www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-11-23-pandemic-or-not-sas-olive-oil-production-jumps/
- Reporter. 2020, November 20. “SA now has an olive oil levy – here’s what you need to know”. Business Insider SA. Available at www.businessinsider.co.za/sa-gets-olive-oil-levy-2020-11
- Woollacott, E. 2019, March 22. “How do you know where your olive oil really comes from?” BBC News. Available at www.bbc.com/news/business-47553054
- Boffrey, D. & Jones, S. 2018, June 14. “US’s olive tariffs already hurting Spanish producers, says EU”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/14/us-trump-olive-tariffs-hurting-spanish-producers-eu
- Ferreira, J. 2017, November 23. “Olive oil success through innovation”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/crops/field-crops/olive-oil-success-innovation/
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