Consortium of Italian Growers Calls for 'Serious Action' in Tough Season

The national consortium Italia Olivicola is a new organization bringing together more than 250,000 olive growers from fifteen regions.

Dec. 20, 2018
By Ylenia Granitto

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Italia Olivi­cola is a new national con­sor­tium that brings together more than 250,000 olive grow­ers orga­nized into 57 orga­ni­za­tions of pro­duc­ers from 15 regions, cor­re­spond­ing to 50 per­cent of the national sec­tor, with a €54 mil­lion annual turnover.

This is a dif­fi­cult sea­son, and we call for seri­ous action to allow olive grow­ers to increase pro­duc­tion and bet­ter face the increas­ingly fre­quent sea­sonal issues.- Gen­naro Sicolo, Pres­i­dent of Italia Olivi­cola

The orga­ni­za­tion was formed through a merger of the national con­sor­tium of olive grow­ers (CNO) and the national union of pro­duc­ers (Unasco) with the aim to pro­mote the devel­op­ment of the sec­tor through four essen­tial steps sum­ma­rized in a state­ment at its launch: con­cen­trat­ing sup­ply, improv­ing pro­duc­ers’ incomes, pro­mot­ing a mod­ern and cohe­sive sup­ply chain, and defend­ing the Made in Italy qual­ity against fraud and coun­ter­feit­ing.

With more than ninety years of his­tory in total, the union between CNO and Unasco gave life to a new story for Ital­ian olive grow­ing,” said Gen­naro Sicolo, who was elected Pres­i­dent of Italia Olivi­cola after lead­ing CNO for seven years.

I am proud to be part of this project, which is so impor­tant for hun­dreds of thou­sands of pro­duc­ers and their com­mu­ni­ties. We will work to strengthen Ital­ian olive grow­ing, in terms of pro­duc­tion capac­ity and abil­ity to face mar­kets at a domes­tic and inter­na­tional level. Italia Olivi­cola has the ambi­tion to be the priv­i­leged inter­locu­tor of the indus­trial and com­mer­cial ele­ments of the sup­ply chain, as well as of the national and regional insti­tu­tions, in order to jointly build a strat­egy of devel­op­ment, mod­ern­iza­tion and con­sol­i­da­tion of the sec­tor.”

The role of vice chair­man was filled by Luigi Canino. We will give con­crete answers to the grow­ers who honor Italia Olivi­cola with their trust,” said the for­mer pres­i­dent of Unasco. We are ready to face up to new chal­lenges in order to guar­an­tee the right value to the Ital­ian pro­duc­tion and main­tain its undis­puted lead­er­ship in qual­ity, bio­di­ver­sity, and sus­tain­abil­ity of a sys­tem guar­an­teed by trace­abil­ity and prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.”


The chal­lenges that must be tack­led imme­di­ately by the new orga­ni­za­tion stem from the pre­lim­i­nary find­ings on the cur­rent har­vest. Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, the vol­umes pro­duced by Ital­ian grow­ers dur­ing the 2018 – 19 cam­paign could turn out to be sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the 429,000 pro­duced last year.

This is a dif­fi­cult sea­son, and we call for seri­ous action to allow olive grow­ers to increase pro­duc­tion and bet­ter face the increas­ingly fre­quent sea­sonal issues,” Sicolo pointed out, spec­i­fy­ing that the poor har­vest led to the loss of one mil­lion work­ing days for the fixed-term con­tract work­ers employed by the olive farms.

We must con­sider that Puglia, Sicily and Cal­abria absorb 47 per­cent of the fixed-term labor force of the entire national agri­cul­ture, and at the end of this dif­fi­cult sea­son, we urge an inter-min­is­te­r­ial action to put in place spe­cific ini­tia­tives in order to revi­tal­ize olive oil coop­er­a­tives and mills, with the prospect of a new national olive oil plan,” the pres­i­dent said.

With this prag­matic atti­tude, the chair­men of the new con­sor­tium set up an inau­gu­ra­tion in great style, in the pres­ence of Pope Fran­cis. Dur­ing the gen­eral audi­ence in St. Peter’s Square, 1,500 pro­duc­ers gave the Holy Father a selec­tion of the best Ital­ian extra vir­gin olive oils, receiv­ing his bless­ing.

The first offi­cial event attended by Italia Olivi­cola took place in Lon­don, dur­ing the third Week of Ital­ian Cui­sine in the World, orga­nized by the Min­istry of for­eign affairs and inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion and the Min­istry of agri­cul­ture, food, forestry and tourism (Mipaaft) to pro­mote the Made in Italy and its dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures of qual­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity, food secu­rity, iden­tity, ter­ri­tory and bio­di­ver­sity.

The Mediter­ranean Diet and the value of Ital­ian extra vir­gin olive oil were the top­ics of a meet­ing orga­nized last month by the Direc­tor of the Ital­ian Insti­tute of Cul­ture, Marco Del­ogu. Italia Olivicola’s del­e­gates par­tic­i­pated in a sem­i­nar on the organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Liq­uid Gold, and guided the guests in a sen­sory jour­ney through the best Ital­ian oils.

We cer­tainly could not miss this impor­tant event to pro­mote Ital­ian extra vir­gin olive oil in the world,” com­mented Sicolo. We will take every oppor­tu­nity to reaf­firm the nutraceu­ti­cal value of our high-qual­ity prod­ucts, and to pro­mote the innu­mer­able ben­e­fits of the Mediter­ranean Diet.”

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