` Andalusia Pledges €40M for Producers, Rules Out More Origin Designations

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Andalusia Pledges €40M for Producers, Rules Out More Origin Designations

Jun. 23, 2011
By Julie Butler

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The Andalu­sian regional gov­ern­ment has allo­cated 40 mil­lion euros ($56.6m) to pro­vide short-term loans so its olive oil pro­duc­ers can avoid sell­ing at a loss.

The funds were announced Thurs­day by Clara Aguil­era, Andalusia’s Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, who also ruled out approv­ing any more des­ig­na­tions of ori­gin within her juris­dic­tion. She said that half the exist­ing ones — to be gen­er­ous” — weren’t improv­ing prof­itabil­ity for the sec­tor, reported EFEA­gro.

And Aguil­era said she won’t be going back to Brus­sels to plead for pri­vate stor­age aid. Instead she will focus on ensur­ing that the cur­rent level of E.U. sub­si­dies for Andalu­si­a’s olive oil sec­tor — €836.15 m ($1.18b) in 2010 — is at least main­tained post-2013. These Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP) pay­ments cur­rently formed about 40 per­cent of the income of Andalu­sian olive oil pro­duc­ers, she said.

Aguil­era was speak­ing after par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Future of the Olive Oil Sec­tor” debate in Seville. On the new short-term loan scheme, she said the cap­i­tal injec­tion would help Andalu­si­a’s pro­duc­ers – who make 80 per cent of Spain’s out­put — cover their day-to-day run­ning costs and thus avoid feel­ing pressed to sell their oil at any price.

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As the cur­rent pro­duc­tion cycle draws to a close, she said that when har­vest­ing cranks up in Octo­ber, the sec­tor had to do its utmost to avoid repeat­ing the same prob­lems with lack of prof­itabil­ity as it had suf­fered in the last three sea­sons.

As for the issue of EU pri­vate stor­age aid – pay­ments to pro­duc­ers who keep their oil off the mar­ket until prices improve – she said there was no point press­ing the issue as we know we don’t meet the req­ui­sites of Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture Dacian Cioloş.” How­ever, as part of the CAP reform she would push for changes to the pri­vate stor­age aid pro­vi­sions and explore other cri­sis man­age­ment tools.

Andalu­sia already has 11 — soon to be 12 — of what Spain calls denom­i­na­tions of ori­gin (D.O.s), plus the new Pro­tected Geo­graph­i­cal Indi­ca­tion (PGI) for Jaén, Aguil­era said her min­istry had closed the door to the cre­ation of new denom­i­na­tions for olive oil.” She stressed that it had made a big effort both pub­licly and pri­vately to empower the exist­ing ones and it was now time to real­ize a return.”

As for the sec­tor’s main pri­or­i­ties, they were pro­fes­sion­al­ism, pro­mo­tion and to demand qual­ity with­out com­pro­mise, Aguil­era said.



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