By Charlie Higgins
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires
Economic leaders in Spain’s Jaén province have announced a set of initiatives that they hope will further strengthen the region’s huge olive oil industry. The provincial agricultural sector will invest a total of 893,000 Euros in the plan in 2011.
Jaén’s vice president of tourism, local development, sustainability, culture and sports María Angustias Velasco described the move as, “an investment to encourage the promotion and marketing of food products in Jaén that the provincial government will maintain despite the current economic situation.”
Valasco added that the creation of quality incentives, increased consumption and greater presence of Jaén products in national and international markets are among the main goals of a project that’s been in the works for about ten years.
As part of the project, Jaén’s olive oil producers will participate in a number of upcoming gourmet food events with government support. These include the 9th International Gastronomy Summit “Madrid Fusion” in January, the 9th International Meeting of Olive Oil Cooking in February, the Jaén Selection 2011 competition in March, the International Gourmet Club Exhibition in April, and Expoliva in May.
The Jaén initiatives also include new trade agreements with olive oil traders
in Australia, Moscow, Japan, South Africa, Italy’s Arezzo province and others in the European Union, all of which will attend Expoliva. Velasco stated that these agreements, “are designed to support Jaén companies in their internationalization and help to introduce and position their brands in new markets.”
Jaén’s leaders have also proposed a greater commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices in order to remain viable in the increasingly green international marketplace. In February the province will host a meeting to discuss the use of renewable energy in olive oil production.
In order to fund the initiatives and continue to promote economic activities in the region, particularly those related to food production, Jaén’s leaders have requested subsidies from the federal government. Additional funding will come from Spain’s Olive Oil Foundation and other entities that will be benefit from the initiatives.
Located in Andalucia in the south of Spain, Jaén is one of the most prolific olive-
producing regions in the world and supplies roughly 60 percent of all Spanish olive oil.