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Wise Tree Magazine Article


The immortal olive tree, which can live for thousands of years, offers great blessings to mankind as it exists in nature.

The agricultural activity carried out to protect these values within the framework of a certain plan and programme and to offer them to the service of humanity is called 'olive cultivation'.

For this purpose, either the trees in the olive groves existing in nature are maintained or the fruits in the olive groves established from local varieties with known/unknown characteristics but which have been adapted for thousands of years are collected and evaluated.

The olive orchard is established to obtain table olives and/or olive oil from the fruit with miraculous properties.

The fruit of the olive tree, which is tens, hundreds, even thousands of years old, has the feature of a pharmaceutical storehouse, and when it is processed with the right methods from the garden to the table, it has the feature of functional food alone.

The way to obtain functional olives/olive oil starts from the tree, i.e. the garden.


Although the world olive sector produces about 3 million tonnes of olive oil and 3 million tonnes of table olives, about 90 percent of this (for both products) is produced by Mediterranean countries.

These countries also consume 75 per cent of both products. The rest of the world can only import and consume 25 per cent.

The only way to increase the production of this fruit tree, which is so valuable but has low production, is to establish new olive groves.

However, if the aim of production is to produce table olives and/or olive oil as a casual food, it is sufficient to plant a high-yielding variety per unit area to establish an olive orchard.

If the aim is to produce functional food, that is, to obtain products with high added value, only maintenance works come to the fore in existing olive groves, while in the new facility, the variety and its pollinator are the most important elements.


One of the two factors limiting the cultivation of olive trees is low temperature (-7 oC) and the other is high ground water. In our country, which is the homeland of the olive tree, at least one olive variety should be recommended as a local variety in every region where olives can be grown.

In the olive orchard to be established with local olive varieties and the pollinator to be determined, the species should be grown in a way to preserve its functional food properties. For this reason, the target should be quality orientated when establishing a garden. The correct, single-stemmed, one-aged saplings should be ordered at the garden facility planning stage.

The most important issues in garden establishment and annual maintenance are pruning, disease and pest control, fertilisation and irrigation. Olive leaves love sunlight, but the branches hate the sun. For this reason, it is necessary to pay attention to this issue while shaping the tree and doing annual pruning. For this, pruning requires experience and expertise.


It is important to carry out the control of diseases and pests in a timely and appropriate manner, especially for quality and yield. The Bordeaux slurry, which can be used both in organic and normal agriculture, is of great importance especially for the prevention of fungal infections. In the fight against the olive fly, protection should be chosen instead of individual struggle. Attractants and kaolin are among the most important materials that can be used for this purpose.

Regardless of the method to be chosen for irrigation, the restricted irrigation system, which stipulates that irrigation should be carried out in the required period, should be applied.

The nutrient requirement of the olive tree varies depending on the physical and chemical structure of the soil. For this reason, the nutrients required for a quality fruit are taken from the soil through the root. The nutrient deficiency of the tree should be given to the tree from the soil or leaves.

Weeds in the garden are fought for competition for water and nutrients. For this purpose, the soil is cultivated with agricultural tools and mixed into the soil. However, mowing the weeds in places other than the crown projection of the trees from a certain height instead of mixing them into the soil will protect the soil against erosion.


In spring, when the water starts to flow to the plant, the shoot buds, especially the top bud, on the old shoot from last year become active and shoots begin to grow on the olive tree. These newly formed shoots carry the buds that will bear fruit next year. For this reason, the length of the shoots should not be short. The flower buds on the previous year's shoot begin to plough in April-May and the nutlets appear. In the olive tree, which is partially self-fertile to a large extent, it is necessary to pay attention that it blooms at the same time with the pollinator we will plant in the garden.

If the climate is favourable, the number of defective flowers is low, there is no problem in pollination and fertilisation at the time of flowering, and 1-3 percent of the flowers remain on the branch until harvest, a good yield is obtained. Here, unfortunately, the effect of climate is serious as a reality of agriculture. What can be done against this is limited but not non-existent.


The stage in the olive fruit after pollination and fertilisation, when the kernel begins to harden.

is the most critical time for the tree to bear next year's fruit. Because the buds on the fresh shoots formed this year are in the physiological separation phase where it is decided whether the buds will be flower buds for the next season. For this reason, it is necessary to pay attention to the irrigation and feeding of the tree during this period. The morphological separation phase in the flower buds occurs about 90 days before the flowering of the next year.

Although the harvest time of the fruits is at green, pink or black stages depending on the purpose of use in table olives, in olive oil, if the aim is to obtain functional olive oil with high minor components, it should be between the green and pink stages.

The oil inside the cells in the fleshy part of the olive fruit, which is eaten, comes out of the cell together with the cell sap when the cells are damaged. While outside the cell, it is oxidised by contact with oxygen. The cell sap is also infected by bacteria and fungi in the air.

Damage to the cell occurs when the fruit is hit during harvest. If we liken these cells that make up the flesh of the fruit to millions of water bags stacked on top of each other, at the slightest impact, thousands of cells will burst like water bags and the liquid inside the cell will come out. The impacted fruit should be processed within 24 hours at most.


For processing into olive oil, the fruits are harvested from the tree at the green stage and placed in plastic crates. The fruits falling from the tree to the soil should not be mixed with the harvested product. It is important that the crates full of olives are delivered to the plant without being kept under the sun or rain.

It requires knowledge and experience to have olive groves with hundreds or thousands of years of age and to ensure that they grow healthy and give yield and quality fruit. Especially in our country where agricultural input costs are high, the way to make a living from olive cultivation without loss is to add added value to the product. For this, quality-oriented production should be targeted.

In this focus on quality, which should be a national target, it would be beneficial to implement a new support model for the need for technical knowledge and skilled labour.


The owners of olive groves in our country can be listed as follows: Those who own olive groves and live in the countryside, those who own olive groves through inheritance but live in the city, those who own olive groves for investment but live in the city....

Although there are olive groves in rural areas that are in charge of their olive groves but cannot be maintained due to financial inadequacy and/or the migration of the young population, there are also olive groves that cannot be maintained due to the lack of qualified workers, although there is no financial problem. The amount of such olive groves is almost 40-50 per cent.

For national yield and quality, such olive groves should be professionally maintained for a certain fee and/or leasing methods should be used for professional contract farming instead of half-sharing. According to this model draft:


"An agricultural engineer will apply to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and inform that he/she wants to establish a ProTar company. After obtaining preliminary permission from the Ministry, he/she will ensure that the existing employees are trained and certified through İŞ-KUR in order to obtain a certificate of professional competence. It will reapply to the ministry with trained and certified personnel for all cultural measures such as pruning, spraying, fertilisation, soil cultivation, irrigation, harvesting and wait for approval. The approved company will prepare two separate forms as service and rental agreement. It will provide services to the olive grove owner for the operations (e.g. pruning, spraying, harvesting) that he/she needs. For example, after the pruning fee per tree is paid by the producer, the amount obtained by multiplying the amount written in the contract by the number of olive trees to be pruned will take the invoice to the bank and get 40 or 50 per cent back from the state within the scope of support.

The olive grove owner who does not live in the countryside can choose to lease the olive grove for 29 or 49 years per piece to the business. The more olive groves in his/her portfolio, the more he/she will have to work by targeting high value-added products in order to increase his/her income.

In time, competition can be encouraged by giving these companies A, B or C class certificates according to their success. TÜRKAK's audit will be positive in obtaining class certificates. Independent auditing firms can be engaged for auditing."


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