Olive Farming In Nigeria: Complete Guide - ENI BEST


Olives are small, versatile fruits borne by the olive tree. They have been a vital part of human civilization for thousands of years.

Their rich flavor, high nutritional value, and oil content make them a prized crop in various regions around the globe. Olive harvesting is a critical process that determines the quality of the yield and influences the taste of the final product, whether it’s olives for table consumption or olive oil production.

In this article, we will explore the different methods employed to harvest olives and the factors that influence their selection.

1. Hand Harvesting

One of the most traditional and widely used methods for olive harvesting is hand harvesting. This labor-intensive process involves carefully picking the olives from the branches by hand, ensuring minimal damage to both the fruit and the tree.

Hand harvesting is particularly common in areas where olive groves are small and terrain may not be suitable for large machinery.

Hand harvesting is known for producing high-quality olives, as it allows for selective picking, ensuring that only ripe fruits are collected.

This is crucial for premium olive oil production and table olives. The gentle touch of human hands also prevents bruising and preserves the olives’ integrity.

2. Comb Harvesting

For larger olive groves, where manual harvesting is impractical due to the sheer volume of olives, mechanical methods like comb harvesting are employed.

Comb harvesters are machines equipped with rotating combs or fingers that shake the branches, causing the olives to fall onto nets or other catchment devices spread below the tree.

While comb harvesting is more efficient in terms of labor, it lacks the precision of hand harvesting. As a result, both ripe and unripe olives can be collected, potentially impacting the quality of the final product.

To compensate for this, some farmers use equipment with adjustable settings to control the intensity of shaking and reduce damage to the tree and fruit.

3. Shaking and Beating

Similar to comb harvesting, shaking and beating are traditional methods that involve using poles or mechanical shakers to make the olives drop from the tree onto collecting nets.

Shaking is commonly done using long sticks, while mechanized shakers attached to tractors are used for larger-scale harvesting.

While shaking and beating are quicker than hand harvesting, they may also lead to mixed-quality yields due to the indiscriminate nature of the process.

Farmers need to carefully time the harvest to avoid excessive fruit drop and ensure that the majority of the olives are ripe for the best quality and yield.

4. Olive Strippers

Olive strippers are devices resembling long-handled combs with plastic or metal fingers designed to pluck olives from the branches. The stripper is carefully run through the branches, and the olives are dislodged and collected below.

This method strikes a balance between the efficiency of mechanical harvesting and the precision of hand harvesting. It allows for selective picking, reducing the inclusion of unripe or damaged olives in the harvest.

Olive strippers are particularly popular in regions where the terrain is not suitable for large machinery, but labor costs may be a concern.

In conclusion, Olive harvesting is a critical stage in the production of both table olives and olive oil. The choice of harvesting method depends on various factors, including the size of the olive grove, labor availability, terrain, and the desired quality of the final product.

Hand harvesting remains the gold standard for premium olives and olive oil, ensuring selective picking and minimal damage to the fruit and tree.

However, for larger olive groves, mechanized methods like comb harvesting, shaking, beating, and olive strippers offer more efficient alternatives.

Regardless of the method chosen, successful olive harvesting requires careful planning, timing, and consideration of factors that can influence the yield’s quality and quantity.

With the right approach, olive farmers can reap the rewards of their labor in the form of delicious and nutritious olives for consumers worldwide.


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Agric4Profit Online Community Changed status to publish September 5, 2023