The Olive Press of Alma Chaab

High quality extra virgin olive oil produced in Alma Chaab.

Workers offload olives to start the oil extraction process at the Alma Chaab olive press facility.

Newly harvested olives being washed prior to the start of the oil extraction process.

The grinder crushing the olives into a paste.

Italian Battalion Capt. De Santis being briefed about the oil extraction process.

Crushed olive paste being applied to fiber mats.

Filtered olive oil as a result of the pressing and separation process.

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2 Dec 2013

The Olive Press of Alma Chaab

In addition to similar geography, culture, weather and culinary habits, the extraction of pure quality olive oil from local olives is a proud and important part of both Italy and Lebanon's tradition. One example of the Italian commitment to boost rural development in South Lebanon and improve living conditions in this post-conflict area is the olive press of the village of Alma Chaab.

In 2008, the Pontifical mission in Lebanon and UNIFIL's Italian Battalion donated an olive press to the southern village of Alma Chaab, which is rich in olive trees. At the time, the villagers, in the absence of an industrial olive press, had to use primitive techniques or to travel far to get their olives pressed.

This generous donation changed their lives.
"This initiative of the Italian Battalion five years ago was very fruitful as it contributed to the agricultural development of the area. Not only the village of Alma Chaab is benefiting from it, but also all the neighbouring villages" said the deputy mayor Mr. Camille Ghafary. "Today, in the middle of the olive harvest season, we are receiving the Italian team at the olive press plant to thank them and to assure them that their donation is kept in good hands" he added.

The townspeople are equally happy with the olive press project.
"In early days, we used to travel to Hasbaya or Marjeeyoun to press our olives. Now we can do it here, in a well maintained, clean and close-by press and it is producing fine quality olive oil", said Mr. Wissam Khouri from Alma Chaab.

Mr. William Haddad also thanked the Italian contingent of UNIFIL for this donation and for all their efforts. "It is a symbol of the constructive relationship that we have with UNIFIL since 1978 and that we are keen to maintain" he added.

The use of the olive as a symbol of peace in western civilization dates back to at least the 5th century BC. The olive press of Alma Chaab is a symbol of the relationship between UNIFIL and the local community of South Lebanon since 1978, based on trust and mutual respect.



Article: Dany Fouad Ghafary
Video Editor: Mohamad Hamze
Video Camera: Mohamad Hamze
Photo: Pascual Gorriz Marcos