E.U. Green Lights €100M Subsidy for Italian Olive Millers

The recipients will be eligible to receive the state-aid to cover up to half of the expense of upgrading their mills to be more efficient and sustainable.
Oct. 17, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

Recent News

Many Italian millers will have eas­ier access to funds needed to ren­o­vate their mills and upgrade machin­ery after the European Commission has given the go-ahead to €100 mil­lion in sub­si­dies.

Originally ear­marked by the Italian gov­ern­ment last spring, the money is meant to make mills more com­pet­i­tive at a global level and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able.

It is an oppor­tu­nity for the whole pro­duc­tion chain, which is worth €1.2 bil­lion (for grow­ers) and €3 bil­lion (for millers and bot­tlers).- Savino Muraglia, pres­i­dent, Coldiretti Puglia

According to the lat­est data pub­lished by Ismea, the pub­lic agency for ser­vices to the agri­cul­tural mar­ket, more than 4,000 olive mills oper­ate in the coun­try. While many com­pa­nies process large vol­umes of olives, smaller mills in the coun­try­side gather olives from small grow­ers.

Due to their size, many milling busi­nesses have more dif­fi­cul­ties access­ing loans to invest in tech­no­log­i­cal upgrades and incor­po­rate the most mod­ern equip­ment into their milling process.

See Also:In Efforts to Promote Quality, Italy Focuses on Olive Mills

This has been exac­er­bated by ris­ing energy costs due to the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine and the country’s severe drought, which has led to low olive yields across the coun­try.

As the har­vest sea­son gets under­way in many areas, a sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion drop is expected to impact both large and small millers directly. Yields are so low in some regions that sev­eral oper­a­tors delayed their sea­sonal open­ing. Elsewhere, millers are rais­ing the costs of olive pro­cess­ing.

Advertisement

According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, projects financed with the new sub­si­dies should reduce energy con­sump­tion and lower their envi­ron­men­tal impact.

Some of the funds will be explic­itly directed to re-use oper­at­ing waste for energy pro­duc­tion and the instal­la­tion of clean energy sources.

Still, the fun­da­men­tal aim of the new mea­sure is to fur­ther improve the final prod­uct qual­ity by adopt­ing new tech­nolo­gies and machin­ery.

In the next four years, millers will be able to present their ren­o­va­tion plans to the min­istry, which will cover up to 50 per­cent of the cost with new funds.

Coldiretti Puglia, a farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, lauded the European Commission’s deci­sion to green-light the sub­si­dies.

It is an oppor­tu­nity for the whole pro­duc­tion chain, which is worth €1.2 bil­lion [for grow­ers] and €3 bil­lion [for millers and bot­tlers],” said Savino Muraglia, pres­i­dent of the asso­ci­a­tion.

A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the new funds will prob­a­bly go to millers in Puglia, the largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region in Italy, where olive groves cover one-fourth of its agri­cul­tural lands.

In the next few weeks, the spe­cific pro­ce­dures for access­ing the new funds should be final­ized.

The new funds are part of a broader Agriculture 4.0 ini­tia­tive, which will see €400 mil­lion invested into the sec­tor by 2023.

Agriculture 4.0 involves imple­ment­ing pre­ci­sion agri­cul­tural tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing more dig­i­tal­iza­tion and tar­geted irri­ga­tion, fer­til­iza­tion and pes­ti­cide appli­ca­tion.

According to the millers, the sec­tor is pay­ing the con­se­quences of a rapidly chang­ing inter­na­tional mar­ket. At the same time, extreme weather events and the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa in Puglia con­tinue to harm grow­ers and pro­duc­ers.



Advertisement

Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions