Córdoba Festival Promotes Local Olive Oil Against Backdrop of Harvest Challenges

Organizers hailed the event as an opportunity for local producers to promote their products after a demanding harvest.
(Photo: City of Córdoba)
By Ofeoritse Daibo
Feb. 28, 2024 02:26 UTC

Forty extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers and mill own­ers cel­e­brated the suc­cess of Córdoba’s first olive oil fes­ti­val ear­lier this month.

We had the project under con­sid­er­a­tion for more than five years, but the pan­demic hit, and we lacked the financ­ing to make this his­toric aspi­ra­tion of the sec­tor in the province a real­ity,” said José María Penco, direc­tor of the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities (AEMO), one of the five event orga­niz­ers.

According to orga­niz­ers, more than 15,000 peo­ple attended the event. It was hosted in the quaint ancient city in south­ern Spain, known for its famous for­mer mosque, Mezquita, and its white-washed nar­row streets.

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According to Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Córdoba pro­duced 130,000 tons of olive oil in the 2023/24 crop year, one-quar­ter of Andalusia’s total.

Producers and orga­niz­ers hailed the event as a suc­cess after a sec­ond-con­sec­u­tive poor har­vest in Spain. Before the 2022/23 crop year, Córdoba had pro­duced an aver­age of 277,000 tons over the pre­vi­ous five crop years.

Many pro­duc­ers had to return to their munic­i­pal­i­ties to refill more prod­uct after hav­ing sold out every­thing on the first day,” José Manuel Bajoprados, pres­i­dent of the Córdoba Gastronomy Consortium, another orga­nizer, told ABC Sevilla.

Our objec­tive was to adorn Córdoba with the cul­ture of olive oil and olive trees and make the peo­ple of Córdoba taste, com­pare and real­ize that we are in the province of the world with the best extra vir­gin olive oil,” he added.

Officials also hailed the event as an oppor­tune moment to high­light extra vir­gin olive oil with a Protected Designation of Origin sta­tus from Baena, Lucena and Priego de Córdoba.

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

A Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a type of geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tion (GI) that iden­ti­fies a prod­uct as orig­i­nat­ing from a spe­cific geo­graph­i­cal area and hav­ing qual­i­ties or char­ac­ter­is­tics that are essen­tially attrib­ut­able to its geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin. The PDO des­ig­na­tion is a legal label that is used to pro­tect the names of prod­ucts that are truly unique to a par­tic­u­lar region.

The fes­ti­val fea­tured guided tast­ings of local PDO olive oils, a milling demon­stra­tion and an olive tree-themed paint­ing con­test for chil­dren.

Bajoprados said the event was sig­nif­i­cant for the province in light of the endur­ing drought and poor har­vests since the local econ­omy largely relies on olive oil pro­duc­tion and ancil­lary ser­vices.

Félix Romero, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture, agreed. An esca­la­tion of prices com­pli­cates the sit­u­a­tion; pro­duc­tion costs are around €6.22 per kilo­gram and can exceed €10 per kilo­gram in moun­tain­ous areas,” he said.

The first Córdoban fes­ti­val has inspired con­fi­dence in the event’s abil­ity to sell olive oil and bring the province together. Officials said the sec­ond edi­tion in 2025 is already being planned.


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