New olive oil facility brings jobs and hope to Turkish host community

Dec 23, 2014

Roughly 1,500-2,000 people earn their livelihoods from this facility in Kilis

An olive oil plant in Kilis, Turkey will bring new life into the olive industry while providing much needed livelihood opportunities to a community that has doubled in population due to the influx of refugees from neighbouring Syria.

The new organic olive oil facility officially started production last month by the Kilis Organic Olive Producers’ Union to help relieve the impact of the Syrian crises on the hosting region.

Now more than ever, the olive oil facility will be a vital means to foster marketability of Kilis olives for local economic development.

With the financial support of Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration, UNHCR and UNDP, the Union established the olive oil facility, which will process, package, and store the olives collected by local growers from their fields. Members of the Union will bring their olives to the facility in which 80 tonnes of organic olive oil can be produced per day.

The Kilis olives that are processed in this facility will go to market under the ‘Kilizi’ brand which aims to be competitive in both Turkish and international markets.

Hüseyin Polat, the President of Kilis Organic Olive Producers’ Union, says that in the past, people were producing olive oil through incorrect methods.

“Farmers received a series of trainings and realized their methods were wrong. We bought carrying crates, and now olives are collected daily, and they are brought to our facility that very same day. We process these olives immediately afterwards, and as a result, we get a really good quality olive oil which has rich flavour and minerals,” said Mr. Polat.

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There are 15 workers currently in the new facility. The number of workers will double when the facility is at full capacity, and employees are expected to include refugees from Syria. Approximately 300 local producers are registered to the Union and they will continue to bring their olives to the facility and get their share of revenue from the olive oil sales. Hüseyin Polat says that this facility is a perfect opportunity for sustaining local socio-economic development in Kilis and for making Kilis olives more competitive in the market. He adds that their aim is to increase the number of their Union members so that everyone in Kilis can benefit from this facility and the olives of Kilis will find its place with the ‘Kilizi’ brand in world markets. 

 

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