Syria is the original home of the olive tree before it spread to the rest of the world, a blessed tree born in a blessed land whose civilization dates back for ten thousand years.
The first years of the third millennium witnessed a remarkable development in the field of olive growing in Syria with an average rate of 2 to 3 million trees a year until the number exceeded a hundred million trees currently, The reason for the expansion of olive cultivation in most Syrian provinces is due to the suitable climate and soil , besides the fact that it’s a rainfed agriculture which does not require much irrigation water.
Olive cultivation is of high economic importance in Syria and is classified among the strategic agricultural crops, which comes third in terms of economic importance and contribute to the GDP after wheat and cotton. According to official statistics olive trees occupy large areas of agricultural land in the country beyond the limit of 650 thousand hectares, 12% of the total area of agricultural land and employs about 20% of the labor force and constitute a source of livelihood for more than 500 thousand Syrian families, and its contribution to GDP reached 3.5%, and exceeded 10% of the value of agricultural income in the country.
In the nineties, the country moved to a state of self-sufficiency before it became the export of this internationally demanded commodity. Syria was ranked fifth globally in olive production and fourth in olive oil production in the years before the crisis. The country produced 1.2 million tons Of the olives before the crisis.
The decline in the quantities of olive production was due to the high costs of production and fuel on the one hand, and the costs of harvesting, transportation and extracting oil on the other hand, as well as the devastating effects left by the armed groups that made many olive farms their battle land, especially in rural Aleppo and Idlib, which account for about 46% of the total cultivated area in the country with olive trees.