Bethlehem, West Bank, June 3, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, said today it was launching the second
phase of a project that is helping olive oil bottling and export companies
in the West Bank improve their competitiveness, enhance compliance with
international standards, and increase their presence in global markets.
IFC’s West Bank Olive Oil Supply Chain Development Project was originally
launched in 2006 and helped eight olive oil companies – representing the
majority of the sector in West Bank – develop their supply chain, improve
product quality, and increase export growth.
The second phase of the program, which will run through January 2012, will
help the same companies access international markets, and obtain financing.
The project will also help the companies find ways to use byproducts from
olive oil processing and reduce any negative environmental impacts.
The program has already scored several successes, including helping
five companies gain certification in accordance with international food
standards, and training more than 110 employees of bottling companies and
their suppliers on testing, packing, and export procedures for olive oil.
Ali Anabtawi, CEO of Near East Industries and Trade Co. said, “The certification
we received with the support of IFC has been crucial in helping us penetrate
new markets and build legitimacy with large, international retail clients.”
Olive oil production is a major driver of economic growth in the West Bank
and Gaza, where it accounts for five percent of GDP and employs more than
100,000 families directly and indirectly. IFC expects that its intervention
will help the sector increase exports in 2014 by an amount equal to $1.5
million today – around 30 percent of current annual exports.
Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, said, “Supporting
the West Bank and Gaza’s vital agriculture sector helps create jobs and
economic opportunity in the territories. IFC is helping olive producers
overcome constraints such as a lack of financing and marketing know-how.”
IFC is helping the eight companies in the following areas:
· Increase their compliance with international
food standards and
· Implement basic traceability programs
· Establish a framework for marketing Palestinian
olive oil for export
· Obtain access to finance
· Improve their environmental performance through
waste minimization and recycling, as well as utilization of industry byproducts.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing capital for private enterprise, and providing advisory and risk
mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing
countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.