Market Analysis for Olive Farmers in the Nineveh Plain of Northern Iraq

This LASER PULSE-funded projct‘s overarching goal is to comprehend the connections between agricultural landscapes and cultural significance, in order to examine the combined social, cultural, agricultural, and economic effects of IS occupation on ethnic and religious minority communities in the Nineveh Province of Iraq. Additionally, it aims to locate agricultural resources that are culturally significant to members of minority groups and to assist them in restoring their use or production.

By Carlos Rosales, Visiting Scholar,
Purdue University; Ariana Torres, Associate Professor,
University of Duhok; Asaad Karam, and Rezgar Mohammed, 

Supporting partners:  University of Duhok, Purdue University,



The Marketing Group has defined an action plan to achieve the project “Support to Traditional Cultural Practices in Northern Iraq”  goals in general supported by LASER PULSE and the USA Agency for International Development (USAID) and the goals of the Marketing Group in particular. Where the Marketing Group started by getting to know the olive farmers and their requirements and the problems they face, they then held meetings with the owners of factories and shops, specifically Al-Tarshi stores (as retailers), studying their requirements and knowing the level of demand for olive products. In addition, the group searched for previous studies on olive marketing and collected the published research in order to achieve the general goal of the group, which consists of several studies, including: 

Therefore, the marketing team carried out several activities, including the design of three models of the questionnaire form, in order to collect and analyse information and reach concrete and realistic solutions. We also found that the number of olive trees registered with state institutions is (268,447) trees, with more than (10,000) unregistered trees, and the production quantity for the previous year was as follows: (Local Bashiqi olives = 6354 tons - Syrian olives = 396 tons - Khastawi olives = 125 tons - Spanish olives = 4 tons). 

It is worth noting that the cost of pressing olives per ton ranges between (120,000 - 150,000 Iraqi dinars). As the preliminary results show, the consumption part consists of: 1. household consumption of 80%; household consumption of olive press at 18%; and individual consumption of 2% per farmer. In order to transfer the knowledge and information that we have gained from these studies, we have created four different training units:

Marketing Analysis

Every popular product on store shelves is a result of a long history of market analysis among competitors and consumers. The creation of a marketing strategy is the first and most vital phase of a market analysis. As the backbone of market analysis, data collection determines if a forthcoming product or service will meet the needs of its target audience. When it is done correctly, market research can yield invaluable information on current industry trends, demographics, spending habits of clients, and competitors.

For this purpose, the marketing team focused on olive production in Ninawa Plain to identify the main challenges that face olive producers in the area while marketing their products. Some questionnaires were designed to gather the information that would be used for marketing analysis to support the olive producers with suggestions and recommendations to market their products better. 


The Mission.

Supporting local farmers to provide olive oil and high-quality olive products for those consumers who want to consume local products due to health awareness and cultural principles.

The Marketing Objectives and Activities:

 Objective 1: Producer analysis: Identify the specific attributes that make the product stand out from the competition.

Objective 2: Competitor analysis: Price monitoring to identify the points where the olive producers can have an opportunity for a higher profit.

Objective 3: Consumer analysis: Investigate consumer behavior to identify what they are looking for while making the purchasing decision and their willingness to pay for the locally produced olive.

Objective 4: Segment potential buyers: Establishing olive market segmentation based on geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information.

Objective 5: Marketing plan: Developing a marketing strategy or a marketing policy.

Objective 6: Implementation Phase: Training around 50 olive farmers during the training sessions and sharing the marketing analysis results with them. 


The marketing team comprises seasoned researchers with expertise in marketing and economics, hailing from three prestigious universities: the University of Dohuk - Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Purdue University in the USA, and the University of Notre Dame in the USA. 

Dr. Asaad Ali Karam  has a Ph.D. in Business Management. He is an impactful member of the Marketing Group. His field of study makes him a valuable member of the group. You can contact him via 

Dr. Rezgar Mostafa Mohammed is an academic member at the University of Duhok in the field of Agricultural and Applied Economics. He is an impactful member of the Marketing Group. His field of study makes him a valuable member of the group. You can contact him via:

Dr. Torres' from Purdue University. , Torres appointment in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture & Agricultural Economics allows her to use economic analysis to support the economic viability of the horticulture industry, you can reach her via:

Camila Ulloa Gómez (MS Student) from Purdue University in the field of  Agricultural Marketing.  Her field of study makes her a valuable member of the group. You can contact him via 

Juliano Martins Ramalho Marques is a Postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University, currently working on the USDA-SAS funded Diverse Corn Belt project focusing on consumer preferences, willingness-to-pay, and valuation for foods from diversified farmers.  He is an impactful member of the Marketing  Group. You can contact him via

Is a visiting scholar at Purdue University - Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. You can contact him at

Video 2 - History and culture of olive in Bashqa.mp4


The Marketing Group created video reports showcasing the olive oil  production process in Bashiqa and the rich cultural significance of olive trees in the region. 



Demand Constraints FOR Local Olive Products

Demand for local olive products is increasing among local consumers in response to rising health awareness and support for local products. The local olive oil and olive soap have better quality than the imported ones, and the local table olives are cheaper. The supply of local olives does not meet the demand, as local olives are not always available. In some areas, the demand for local olives is limited as the supplied products do not meet consumers' preferences. The political tensions and low productivity prevented the local olive products from reaching every part of the country, while the lack of product labeling increased the level of uncertainty. ➤ READ MORE


The Marketing Group created numerous posters that depict the Olive orchards in Bashiqa - Nineveh Plains, Olive varieties, and the production and  Olive marketing process. 


The Training Courses on Marketing Olives and Olive Oil in 

The training courses were conducted in two groups of 20 farmers each. Duration of Training: two days with three sessions.  The courses aimed to provide the farmers with knowledge and skills related to market analysis,  olive harvesting, post-harvest treatments, manufacturing/production methods, storage of olives and olive oil, branding, packaging, labeling, marketing channels, and business plans for table olive and olive oil. ➤ READ MORE