`Ciolos Promises Shake-Up - Olive Oil Times

Ciolos Promises Shake-Up

Apr. 23, 2012
Julie Butler

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Interprofessional President Pedro Barato after meet­ing with European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş in Córdoba

Beefed up test­ing, bet­ter clas­si­fi­ca­tion of olive oil and reach­ing out to non-EU pro­duc­ers are among a pack­age of mea­sures promised by European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş after meet­ing in Córdoba today with mem­bers of Spain’s olive oil sec­tor includ­ing its Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español (Interprofessional).

Interprofessional President Pedro Barato said those attend­ing the meet­ing — includ­ing Spain’s Agriculture Minister, Miguel Arias Cañete, and his coun­ter­part from the Andalusian regional gov­ern­ment, Clara Aguilera — had stressed the sector’s social, envi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and cul­tural impor­tance for Spain.

The meet­ing came in the midst of the rene­go­ti­a­tion of EC agri­cul­tural sub­si­dies and the pro­longed pric­ing cri­sis in the Spanish sec­tor, which is in the final throes of a record har­vest already exceed­ing 1.56 mil­lion tons.

Speaking to media after the meet­ing, Cioloş said an action plan for the sec­tor would be finalised next month. He would then meet with the agri­cul­ture min­is­ters of EU mem­ber coun­tries to dis­cuss its imple­men­ta­tion.

Better stan­dard­iza­tion, more checks, crack­down on blends

Among his promised mea­sures was the restruc­tur­ing of the sec­tor and improved stan­dard­iza­tion of olive oil to pro­mote qual­ity.” Specifically, Cioloş spoke of car­ry­ing out a series of phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal tests to bet­ter detect ille­gal blends with olive oil; improved clas­si­fi­ca­tion; and more qual­ity con­trol, because right now there are no manda­tory checks.”

Also needed was bet­ter adjust­ment of pro­duc­tion to demand so as to enhance qual­ity and stan­dard­iza­tion. ”

Cioloş also said he wanted to work with the International Olive Council (IOC) to jointly develop a series of mea­sures to help pro­duc­ers and con­sumers beyond Europe, because we want other pro­duc­ers to share the same stan­dards so we can imple­ment and apply them at all lev­els.”

He’d like the IOC to open not only to olive oil pro­duc­ers, but to con­sumers in order to increase the sector’s poten­tial and share com­mon rules on its man­age­ment.”

There would be increased means to pro­mote olive oil and enhanced mar­ket track­ing and trans­parency in order to improve pric­ing.” And in regards to Spain’s fears its sub­si­dies would be cut under cur­rent reform to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Cioloş said the coun­try would undergo no loss” but gain flex­i­bil­ity in the use of its pay­ments.

Spanish sec­tor wants help to empower pro­duc­ers against super-stores

Cioloş also said he was open to debat­ing ini­tia­tives put to him by the Interprofessional. Our ideas con­verge on many points,” he said.

On its call to reduce frag­men­ta­tion among pro­duc­ers — so they can drive a harder bar­gain with the hand­ful of super-stores from which 60 per­cent of Spaniards buy their olive oil — he said he agreed steps were needed so the sec­tor can obtain a greater value added for its prod­uct.”

Among other mea­sures sought by the Interprofessional are the main­te­nance of the cur­rent EC sub­sidy sys­tem for the sec­tor, updated EC pro­vi­sions for pri­vate stor­age pay­ments, self-reg­u­la­tion (in Spain under the direc­tion of the Interprofessional), tests to enforce prod­uct qual­ity, a ban on blends of seed oils with olive oil, and a require­ment that olive oil in restau­rants be served in prop­erly labeled bot­tles.

The Interprofessional is a non-profit offi­cial orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing all mem­bers of Spain’s olive oil sec­tor.


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