Argentina Is Building Latin America's Largest Olive Oil Plant

The agricultural company Solfrut is renovating its existing olive oil production plant. The new one will have a state-of-the-art mill and see its storage capacity increase to 4,000 tons.

Olive groves in La Rioja (Olive Oil Times archives)
May. 29, 2019
By Daniel Dawson
Olive groves in La Rioja (Olive Oil Times archives)

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Solfrut, an agri­cul­tural com­pany, and the gov­ern­ment of the San Juan province in Argentina have teamed up to invest $14 mil­lion in the company’s plant, which will be the largest in South America upon its com­ple­tion.

The plant will be respon­si­ble for bot­tling 30 per­cent of the olive oil that is con­sumed in Argentina as well as bot­tling olive oil des­tined for export to Brazil.

It is, with­out a doubt, the most impor­tant plant in all of Latin America.- José Chediack, pres­i­dent of Solfrut’s par­ent com­pany

The project, which has been divided up into three phases, will be com­pleted by 2021. The first phase is set to be fin­ished up by June when the stor­age capac­ity of the plant will be increased to 2,000 tons. At the end of the process, even larger stor­age tanks will be installed.

It will be the largest plant in Latin America,” José Chediack, the pres­i­dent of Solfrut’s par­ent com­pany, said “[When it is com­pleted], it will have a capac­ity of 4,000 tons.”

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The sec­ond phase includes ren­o­vat­ing the mill in order to mod­ern­ize all of the equip­ment and is expected to be done in time for the 2020 har­vest. The third phase will be the mod­ern­iza­tion and enlarge­ment of the bot­tling sec­tion of the plant.

The idea is to invest in San Juan and that it serves the growth and devel­op­ment of the province,” Chediack said. It is, with­out a doubt, the most impor­tant plant in all of Latin America.”


From here, in San Juan, we will process olive oil for our super­mar­kets,” he added. This is work for peo­ple from San Juan and it is very impor­tant.”

Currently, the plant employs 200 peo­ple and once the three-phase expan­sion is com­plete, Solfrut expects to increase the work­force by 15 per­cent.

Various gov­ern­ment offi­cials attended the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony.

Sergio Uñac, the province’s gov­er­nor, and Mario Martín, the local mayor, both told atten­dees of the cer­e­mony that they expect the project to gen­er­ate well-pay­ing jobs that will ben­e­fit the province’s econ­omy.

Uñac said that he sees olive cul­ti­va­tion and olive oil pro­duc­tion as a sus­tain­able invest­ment for both the province and the rest of the coun­try. He hopes that these kinds of invest­ments can help increase Argentina’s olive oil exports as well as spur domes­tic con­sump­tion.

This is the way for­ward, not only in the province but also in the coun­try,” he said. We under­stand that we have to talk more about pro­duc­tion, con­sump­tion, and exports, but first reac­ti­vat­ing the inter­nal mar­ket, that is the most impor­tant thing.”

A lack of ade­quate infra­struc­ture sur­round­ing olive oil pro­duc­tion is one of the biggest chal­lenges that Argentina faces as it con­tin­ues to grow the sec­tor. Several promi­nent mem­bers of Argentina’s olive oil indus­try told Olive Oil Times that expand­ing the plant is a step in the right direc­tion.


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