Established in 2004 as a producer of olive derivatives, Olive Trade builds upon a centuries-old legacy of passion, craftsmanship, and expertise in the olive culture and pressing. The modern concept of Olive Trade emerged from the vision and determination of Youssef Fares, who left his finance job in Paris to fulfill his dream of putting his village, Baino, on the global map of olive oil production.
Using his own resources, Youssef transformed the family heritage rooted in the terroir of Baino, a mountain village in the Akkar region of Lebanon, into a fully modernized enterprise. Olive Trade now adheres to the highest industry standards, incorporating state-of-the-art technology, and has become a thriving international business.
Olive Trade’s operations span the entire olive value chain, including farming, harvesting, processing, packaging, storage, quality control, product development, marketing, retail, and distribution. Additionally, the company has extended its expertise to pomegranate, a fundamental ingredient in the Lebanese and Mediterranean culinary traditions, which has experienced increasing demand over the past decade.
Upgrading the Manufacturing Facility
Olive Trade’s proposed project for the Food System Challenge focused on an urgent upgrade plan for their manufacturing facility in Baino to safeguard the company’s business model and sustain the local olive and pomegranate growers.
The upgrade plan was centered around reducing dependency on diesel fuel and achieving full autonomy by adopting an off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) generation unit with storage capacity while also reducing production costs.
Under the program, the company also replace its diesel boiler with a new olive husk waste burner, thereby reducing diesel consumption, pollution, and organic waste. This change will contribute to a more sustainable and cost-effective heating solution.
After identifying bottlenecks in the production cycle, the FSC program granted Olive Trade new equipment such as a forklift to facilitate the transportation of semi-finished and finished products to and from the warehouse. This will significantly reduce the reliance on manual labor, currently involving half of the workforce, by allowing the task to be efficiently performed by 1-2 operators in less time.
A much-needed molasses filling and labeling machine was also acquired to expedite the production process and reduce lead times, in addition to a new olive oil bottling line that has replaced the previous manual filling process, enhancing efficiency and output.
The Food System Challenge
The Food System Challenge is implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Berytech through support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The program’s main outcomes are enhanced food security, a well-functioning local food system, enhanced efficiency and resilience of cooperatives and SMEs working across different streams of the food systems, and increased employment opportunities, especially for women and vulnerable individuals.