The humble olive, whose oil is part of the staple diet of thousands of people, was once regarded - in ancient times-as something of a luxury.
The humble olive, whose oil is part of the staple diet of thousands of people, was once regarded - in ancient times-as something of a luxury. Nowadays, however, it grown in profusion along most of the shores of the Mediterranean, to yield a substitute for butter and animal fats, in garnishing or cooking food.
In Tunisia, the culture of the olive was developed in times of the the Roman occupation of North Africa, and it is calculated that olive orchards covered 2,500,000 acres when the Arabs conquered the country in AD 700.
In the region of Bfax, where these scenes were shot, are found optimum conditions for the growing of the fruit and it is here that 30 per cent of all Tunisian Olives are grown.
The trees are widely spared here because of lack of irrigation. It has been found by experiment that in some cases olive trees will grow stouter and stronger for the first five years or so if they remain unpruned; evenso, the growers find harvesting is easier and the prevention of pests and diseases made simpler by cutting back the trees, as shown. Primitive methods of sorting the olive from leaves and other unwanted matter are still used by the native harvesters - but the olives are no worse for that....