On December 5, Fernanda Cecchini, Umbria Region Councilor for Agriculture, presented a project for the “relaunch of local extra virgin olive oil” during a meeting attended by stakeholders including the University of Perugia, he Umbrian PDO EVOO Consortium and Umbrian Confindustria (the Umbrian industrial Association).
“This project did not result from the difficult circumstances concerning oil production in 2014, closing with a serious production deficit in Umbria as well as in other Italian regions,” Cecchini explained, “the project for the Umbrian olive oil sector is part of the planning policy that we have carried out in the last years and that has produced tools to support our agriculture, such as the Umbrian Livestock Plan, the Wine Special Project and the new regional Act on agri-tourism.”
“The project will have to identify strengths and weaknesses, evolutionary scenarios, strategic objectives as well as executive interventions to support competitiveness of the entire regional oil supply chain,” Cecchini added.
As Cecchini noted, Umbria includes more than 30 thousand hectares of olive groves, contributing less than 2 percent of the national oil production, but it is headquarters of the largest Italian oil processing companies. Umbria is also the only region presenting a single PDO certification divided into 5 sub-areas.
Cecchini said: “We produce a very high quality oil, but we consider equally important the environmental value: olive groves are a strong and essential element of identification of our region. Starting from the current situation, we want to identify the most effective actions for its development by helping good Umbrian oil have a solid and well-structured presence on national and international markets.”
As its priorities, the project approved by the Regional government includes the strengthening of the oil supply chain to reach higher quality and higher profits through a better relationship between producers and distributors. At the same time, Cecchini highlighted the need for a strong marketing campaign.
The project will be financed by European, national and regional programs, such as the Rural Development Program.