South African Olive & Olive Oil resources

History of the South African olive industry:

The wild Olive (Olea Africana) occurs naturally throughout Southern Africa, and olives had been grown in the country on a small scale, but with limited success, owing to the imported varieties' susceptability to root rot. The real breakthrough came when Ferdinando Costa, an Italian immigrant, grafted the imported cultivar to domestic rootstock, thus obtaining natural resistance to these diseases and was able to start the commercial production of olive trees, olives, and even subsequently olive oil from a plant he erected in 1936. This plant is still in production and South Africa is now a leading Sub-Saharan producer of high-quality olives and olive oil, and the Paarl area in the Western Cape, which has a suitable Mediterranean climate, with requisite winter chilling, is regarded as the centre of the industry.

Ferdinando Costa, pioneer of the S. A. Olive industry


The beautiful Paarl valley, centre of the olive industry.


Useful addresses and links, relating to the S. A. Olive industry:


S.A. Olive Growers Association:

Founded in 1936, this represents the interests of the local olive farmers.

P. O. Box 357,




Horticultural research, with olive unit

Private Bag X5013,



F. Costa & Son

Ferdinando's son and grandson continue producing fine olives and extra virgin olive oil.

P. O. Box 14,



Buffet Olives

Processed olives, packed in plastic "Doypacks"

P. O. Box 91,



Carlo Costa

Horticulturist and author of "Olive Production in South Africa", a handbook for olive growers.

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