Late last month, DCOOP’s more than 400 cooperative members gathered at the group’s headquarters in Antequera, Málaga, for what was described as a “complicated” general assembly.
The gathering focused on reviewing the cooperative’s activities, approving financial statements, reviewing the sustainability platform and reflecting on the previous year.
The year 2022 could be defined as turbulent. However, at the DCOOP Group, we have grown in the face of adversity, and it has been synonymous with growth.
Despite facing challenges, including drought and rising production costs, DCOOP said it achieved a record total revenues of nearly €1.24 billion.
This included a record-high revenue of €681 million for olive oil sales and an increased €119 million for table olive sales and €16 million for olive pomace.See Also:Domestic Olive Oil Sales in Spain Remain Strong as Exports Fall
DCOOP also earned substantial revenues of €151 million for its farming supplies business, which provides fuel, machinery, spare parts, fertilizer and phytosanitary products.
Away from its core table olive and olive oil business, DCOOP also reported increased revenue from its wine, tree nuts, dried fruit, livestock and goat milk businesses. The only sector that lost money was cereals.
“The year 2022 could be defined as turbulent,” Rafael Sánchez de Puerta, the cooperative’s general director, told Revista Almaceite ahead of the general assembly. “However, at the DCOOP Group, we have grown in the face of adversity, and it has been synonymous with growth.”
While Spain endured a historically poor harvest in the 2022/23 crop year, Sánchez de Puerta indicated that the cooperative’s record revenues reflected rising prices and strong demand from the United States and Asia.
However, they do not necessarily translate into a more profitable year for farmers due to the rise in production costs.
“The historic drop in production this season has been reflected, as it could not be otherwise, in oil consumption: production drops due to drought and high temperatures, harvesting costs rise and, therefore, the price of oil rises,” he said. “With the great drop in production, despite the high prices, olive growers are going to earn less money in a context of clearly increasing costs.”
In addition to its financial performance, the assembly also focused on DCOOP’s new sustainability initiatives.
The cooperative’s members were told that DCOOP’s olive oil and wine businesses recently passed the international benchmark Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit, which tells retailers that production companies follow environmental, sustainability and governance best practices.
Members were also informed about the ongoing audit from SGS to determine how close the cooperative and its different businesses are to becoming carbon neutral.
Before the assembly, Sánchez de Puerta also addressed the ongoing drought in Andalusia, which is expected to result in a poor harvest again in the 2023/24 crop year.
“It is urgent to sit down and talk seriously about the issue of water because it clearly affects the sector,” he said. “We have seen it in this campaign, and we will continue to see it if we do not remedy it soon.”
“Given the lack of rain, we have to consider other alternatives, such as irrigation, to be able to maintain the olive groves,” Sánchez de Puerta added. “At DCOOP, we are committed to better water management, betting on agronomic techniques that optimize the use of water and its reuse. In this way, we contribute to mitigating climate change, stopping desertification and guaranteeing the future of our peoples.”