`Minister Aguilera Announces Plan for Olive Oil Market Restructuring - Olive Oil Times

Minister Aguilera Announces Plan for Olive Oil Market Restructuring

May. 10, 2011
Charlie Higgins

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Representatives of Spain’s strug­gling olive oil indus­try con­tinue to look for new ways to boost prof­its, lower costs and com­pete in the world mar­ket.

This time, Clara Aguilera, Andalusia’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, has called for improve­ments in the industry’s for­eign trade struc­tures. Aguilera also empha­sized the impor­tance of lis­ten­ing to local farm­ers, as well as inter­na­tional experts.

In her open­ing remarks before the General Assembly of the Andalusian Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Enterprises (FAECA) in Granada Friday, Aguilera pointed out that gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion isn’t pos­si­ble in this case because we are in a free mar­ket.” She nonethe­less rec­og­nized the neces­sity of adopt­ing mea­sures to bol­ster the country’s olive oil sec­tor by decreas­ing pro­duc­tion costs and improv­ing mar­ket­ing abroad.

Although we’ve improved sub­stan­tially we still need to focus our efforts on the sup­ply end,” Aguilera added. We need to look out­side of Spain because we’re wit­ness­ing growth of olive oil pro­duc­tion in other Mediterranean coun­tries that are going to com­pete with Andalusia.”

Regarding the reduc­tion of costs and increase in effi­ciency, Aguilera empha­sized the impor­tance of coop­er­a­tion among farm­ers to con­cen­trate sup­ply and con­sol­i­date mar­ket­ing efforts. Furthermore, she men­tioned tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion as an impor­tant fac­tor in strength­en­ing the indus­try. She added that only com­pa­nies that demon­strate a clear com­mit­ment to the Andalusian government’s effort to increase sup­ply con­cen­tra­tions would receive fund­ing for inno­va­tion.

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Aguilera also responded to the recent elim­i­na­tion of the Régimen Especial Agrario, a sub­sec­tor of Spain’s social secu­rity sys­tem designed specif­i­cally for farm­ers. She acknowl­edged the tremen­dous weight that this deci­sion will have on the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. In Granada, the mea­sure has affected some 58,000 peo­ple. Nonetheless her out­look on the future of Andalusia’s farm­ers is decid­edly opti­mistic.

The changes have been car­ried out well because they’ve been grad­ual and there­fore not par­tic­u­larly bur­den­some for farm­ers.”

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