` Aguilera: Use Origins to Inform Consumers, Lift Prices

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Aguilera: Use Origins to Inform Consumers, Lift Prices

May. 19, 2011
By Julie Butler

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Would increased used of des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin labels make con­sumers more aware of qual­ity and inclined to pay more for it? That’s one of the issues Andalu­si­a’s olive oil sec­tor is debat­ing as it seeks ways out of a pro­longed pric­ing cri­sis. The regional gov­ern­ment says that dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly via what are known in Spain as denom­i­na­tions of ori­gin (D.O.s), would help con­sumers make informed choices in the super­mar­ket.

Clara Aguil­era, Andalusia’s Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, said this week that expe­ri­ence in the wine indus­try had shown that D.O.s did make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence. She said that Andalu­sia pro­duces many excel­lent olive oils but they need to be dif­fer­en­ti­ated and that dif­fer­ence is shown by the denom­i­na­tions of ori­gin.” She was speak­ing at a meet­ing of the reg­u­la­tory board of the Lucena D.O., which is about a fort­night away from releas­ing the first olive oil bot­tled under this D.O. label.

But among those who dis­agree are Hoji­blanca direc­tor gen­eral Anto­nio Luque, who says the D.O. sys­tem has no impact on con­sumers. Instead, it dilutes efforts to pro­mote the region’s olive oil, which should have one over­all image.”

Mean­while, Aguil­era spoke about her gov­ern­men­t’s pledge of short-term loans to help pro­duc­ers avoid sell­ing at a loss. She promised more detail within weeks but did say the loans would have an aver­age term of six months and enough funds would be made avail­able to help pro­tect the price of 50,000 to 100,000 tons of Andalu­sian olive oil.”

Tomor­row (Fri­day), key stake­hold­ers will gather in a meet­ing to con­sider other mea­sures to give the indus­try a brighter future.

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Eduardo Tamarit, sec­re­tary gen­eral of Spain’s Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM), said last month that the Min­istry was work­ing on var­i­ous eco­nomic and struc­tural mea­sures which would be dis­cussed at the May 20 meet­ing of indus­try and gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Issues on the table included how to achieve greater con­cen­tra­tion among pro­duc­ers, tighter con­trol over sales con­tracts and mea­sures to pre­vent olive oil being used as a loss leader.



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