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Lebanon is already the world's 17th biggest exporter of olive oil, according to statistics from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Fares says he believes Lebanese olive oil could be more competitive internationally but, like the bottle sitting at home, lacks the marketability. Advocating for one of the oldest and most traditional products in the country seems like an odd cause for a young man like Fares, who runs the olive oil brand Zejd.There are attractive wooden gift boxes, baskets of olive oil soap and a wall-mounted guide to Zejd's varying products: certified organic premium, tapenades and flavor-infused oils.Getting Lebanese olive oil up to international standards requires more than a good marketing scheme.Perhaps the biggest olive oil scandal made news several years ago, when it became known some Italian producers resold cheap Tunisian olive oil as an Italian product.Despite the challenges, Fares says he sees a way forward into specific markets such as Brazil or the U.S. where a local expat community can help promote the product.
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