The University of Jaén is one step closer to creating its new Academic Institute of Olive and Olive Oil Research after the Andalusian University Council agreed to issue a favorable report in favor of its creation.
“The institute will lead the research, development and innovation over all aspects [of olive and olive oil research]… promoting a network of researchers who work for a deeper understanding of olives and olive oils while cooperating with all the subjects involved in the sector,” the university said in a press release.See Also: Andalusian Olive Oil Exports Rebound After Challenging Harvest
“[Our goal is to] give birth to innovation that will allow us to introduce upgrades in all the different phases of the production cycle,” university officials added. “That is to favor modernization, professionalism and stronger productivity for the sector.”
The plans to create the new institute now move to the Andalusian government, which is expected to approve them.
Once created, the goal of the institute will be to help innovate the processes of olive farming, harvesting and oil production, make research more efficient and create a cooperative network of academics and professionals in the sector.
Situated in Jaén, the new institute will be located at the very heart of Spanish olive oil production. In the 2020/21 crop year, the small Andalusian province produced as much olive oil as Italy, Portugal and Greece combined.
In general, Andalusia is by far the most relevant Spanish olive farming region. Throughout its history, the number of olive grove areas in the autonomous community has risen and shrank.
Since 1888, Andalusia has seen its olive groves increase from 1.1 million hectares to 2.5 million, according to data from UNESCO. Over the same period, the province of Jaén has seen its olive groves triple in size, growing from 190,000 hectares to 600,000 hectares.
With its 70 million olive trees, Andalusia is responsible for about 30 percent of the global olive oil production, and 20 percent for table olive production.