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New Eco-Friendly Olive Oil Mill in Lleida

Aug. 16, 2010
Daniel Williams

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By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

Lleida (Spain) Olive Oil Cooperative Opens Eco-Friendly Olive Oil Mill Despite National Agrarian Crisis and Industry Troubles

The agri­cul­tural adviser to Cataluña’s Regional Government, Joaquim Llena, recently inau­gu­rated a new, highly-effi­cient olive oil mill for the Lleida coop­er­a­tive built from a joint invest­ment of 2 mil­lion Euros. The new mill will occupy a sur­face area of some 4,500 square meters and will serve more than a thou­sand olive grow­ers in Spain’s north­ern regions.

The new highly-advanced mega-mill can func­tion with­out inter­rup­tion and has the capac­ity to process around 350,000 kilos of olives each day. At the end of a year’s worth of work, the Lleida coop­er­a­tive pre­dicts that the new mill will have processed around 9 mil­lion kilos of olives, result­ing in close to 2 mil­lion kilos of extra vir­gin olive oil.

Mr. Llena explained that almost 30% of the 2 mil­lion Euro invest­ment, a total of 700,000 Euros, was con­tributed by Cataluña’s Department of Agriculture as part of a regional effort to mod­ern­ize out­dated and inef­fi­cient coop­er­a­tives in the midst of the world­wide olive oil pric­ing crisis.

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Joan Maials Mayor Segura (left)

According to a yearly review by the Foundation of Rural Studies, 24% of Spanish farm­ers grow­ing olives for oil pro­duc­tion have seen their incomes fall dur­ing 2009. In total, Spain’s agrar­ian income has fallen 5.5% and in response to falling prices, the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing in the olive oil sec­tor has also dropped 4% to 786,050 employ­ees. Llena showed his appre­ci­a­tion for the olive oil sector’s exem­plary” form in respond­ing to the agrar­ian pric­ing cri­sis which is being met with aggres­sive invest­ment and fur­ther innovations.

The new mill facil­i­ties are the prod­uct of a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort and busi­ness agree­ment between the Foment Maialenc coop­er­a­tive, Agricola Almatret, and the Granyena and Cogul camps. Joan Segura, the pres­i­dent of the Foment Maialenc coop­er­a­tive, the largest pro­ducer of the lot, has stated that the con­struc­tion of the new mill is a sound invest­ment in the midst of the cur­rent agrar­ian cri­sis. Segura claims the mill will even­tu­ally become a money-saver over time and esti­mates that
the new project will save some 15,000 Euros in gaso­line annually
due to the mill’s eco-friendly boiler which runs on olive pits and water.

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