Olive Council Inaugurates World Olive Day

The International Olive Council launched 'World Olive Day' to celebrate olive trees, their health benefits and environmental advantages.

IOC Headquarters in Madrid (Google Earth)
By Ylenia Granitto
Dec. 5, 2016 09:36 UTC
IOC Headquarters in Madrid (Google Earth)

The International Olive Council chose November 26 for a cel­e­bra­tion of the olive tree, the uni­ver­sal sym­bol of peace and har­mony, which has now spread to the five con­ti­nents and con­tributes to sus­tain­able eco­nomic and social devel­op­ment and the preser­va­tion of nat­ural resources,” the Madrid orga­ni­za­tion said.

Between 2014 and 2016, the land area in the world planted with olive trees have increased by 10 per­cent: from 10 mil­lion hectares (24.7M acres) to 11 mil­lion hectares (27.1M acres), of which well over 8 mil­lion hectares (19.7M acres) are not irri­gated.

A cer­e­mony was held at the head­quar­ters of the IOC, dur­ing which the exec­u­tive direc­tor, Abdellatif Ghedira, read an offi­cial dec­la­ra­tion on the impor­tance of olive trees, their health ben­e­fits and their envi­ron­men­tal rel­e­vance.

This was also the sub­ject of a short film pre­pared for the COP22 con­fer­ence: Olive oil, the liq­uid gold help­ing to reduce green­house gas emis­sions.’

As an agent in com­bat­ing global warm­ing, olive grow­ing has a pos­i­tive car­bon bal­ance, seques­ter­ing more CO2 in its growth cycle than the green­house gasses emit­ted in the pro­duc­tion process of vir­gin and extra vir­gin olive,” Ghedira noted.

Olive oil and table olives are a proven source of nutri­tion and health, key ingre­di­ents in the Mediterranean diet and increas­ingly appre­ci­ated by the world’s most renowned chefs.”

Furthermore, the action of their many ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties in pre­vent­ing cer­tain dis­eases is now widely rec­og­nized,” as the IOC declared dur­ing the event.

The cer­e­mony included a trib­ute to Shimon Lavee, who twice held office as the IOC chair­per­son and who con­tributed con­sid­er­ably to the activ­i­ties of the organ­i­sa­tion and to the devel­op­ment of the sec­tor.

With the idea to set up an annual cel­e­bra­tion, the IOC pub­lished in September a call for pro­pos­als for grants to co-finance the series of simul­ta­ne­ous events which have been sched­uled by mem­ber coun­tries (the United States is not a mem­ber of the IOC).

  • In Italy, the World Olive Day has been cel­e­brated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Unaprol with a full day of study on the devel­op­ment of the olive oil qual­ity sys­tems and eco­nomic and envi­ron­men­tal aspects of the appel­la­tion of ori­gin pro­ce­dures. The event coin­cided with the twen­ti­eth anniver­sary of the first five Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) for extra vir­gin olive oils at the European level: Aprutino pescarese, Brisighella, Canino, Collina di Brindisi and Sabina.
  • In Algeria, the cel­e­bra­tion of WOD 2016 was inau­gu­rated by the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture and included a demon­stra­tion of the oper­a­tion of a crush­ing unit and a tast­ing of the oil pro­duced, that was fol­lowed by olive tree plant­i­ngs.
  • In Egypt, a sem­i­nar on olive grow­ing and the envi­ron­ment and the health ben­e­fits of olive prod­ucts took place in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the University of Alexandria.
  • In Spain, a work­shop for for­eign stu­dents was held at the University of Jaén includ­ing a talk on olive oil, with a tast­ing ses­sion and cook­ing demon­stra­tions.
  • In Greece, the Kalamata Olive Oil Taste Laboratory orga­nized sen­sory analy­sis ses­sions and a sem­i­nar on the health ben­e­fits of olive oil, organolep­tic qual­ity stan­dards, and qual­ity man­age­ment.
  • In Morocco, the fifth edi­tion of the International Forum on Olive Oil was held in Meknès, with a con­fer­ence that high­lighted the value of the olive tree bio­mass as a new and renew­able energy source.
  • In Tunisia, the event focused on the exten­sion of the olive grow­ing area in the coun­try and the sus­tain­abil­ity of the sec­tor. One thou­sand olive trees were planted in nurs­eries.
  • In Turkey, after a visit to an ancient mill, par­tic­i­pants took part in the har­vest of mon­u­men­tal olive trees and oil extrac­tion at a press kept at the Museum of Olive Oil.
  • Portugal cel­e­brated World Olive Day with the pres­i­dent of the Casa do Azeite, Luís Folque and the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, forestry and rural devel­op­ment, Luís Manuel Capoulas Santos.


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