`Olive Council Looks Back at 57 Years Since Founding - Olive Oil Times

Olive Council Looks Back at 57 Years Since Founding

Jan. 14, 2016
Gaynor Selby

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The International Olive Oil Council was estab­lished in the Spanish cap­i­tal of Madrid in 1959 and involved gov­ern­ments from European nations includ­ing France, Greece, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, the U.K. and, out­side of the EU, Libya, Israel, Tunisia and Morocco.

Fifty-seven years have gone by,” the since-renamed International Olive Council (IOC) said on its newslet­ter this week, and the sixth International Agreement, to be known as the 2015 Agreement, is set to enter into force on January 1, 2017.”

Since its incep­tion, the IOC has pulled out all the stops to try to improve olive oil qual­ity and to cre­ate aware­ness among indus­try and the gen­eral pub­lic about the impor­tance of qual­ity.- International Olive Council

This new agree­ment will allow the IOC to con­tinue apace in help­ing to bring about the har­mo­nious, last­ing devel­op­ment of the world of olive and olive oil sec­tors.

The state­ment said the new char­ter addresses a com­mon com­plaint that IOC mem­ber vot­ing shares are con­cen­trated among large pro­duc­ers. Several fea­tures mark off this Agreement from its pre­de­ces­sors, for instance it facil­i­tates the par­tic­i­pa­tion of importer coun­tries and its mod­i­fied for­mula for cal­cu­lat­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion shares as an incen­tive for con­sumer coun­tries to join.” The United States is not a mem­ber of the IOC.

The IOC said the new agree­ment will reassert its role as a world doc­u­men­ta­tion cen­ter” and chan­nel for broad­cast­ing infor­ma­tion for the indus­try.

It also focuses on national and inter­na­tional stan­dards for the physico-chem­i­cal and organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of olive oils, olive pomace oils and table olives aimed at pre­vent­ing trade bar­ri­ers and guar­an­tee­ing qual­ity,” the IOC added.

As part of the new agree­ment, accord­ing to the Council, there will be a renewed empha­sis on qual­ity, a core fea­ture of the IOC’s char­ter. The inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion will con­tinue to be involved with rais­ing aware­ness of olive oil qual­ity, offer­ing train­ings in olive orchards, in mills and on research and devel­op­ment projects aimed at improv­ing prac­tices and qual­ity con­trol pro­grams in import mar­kets.

Nowadays qual­ity is def­i­nitely light years ahead of what it used to be and it has become a key fac­tor in the devel­op­ment of the sec­tor,” said the IOC.

Looking back over the years

There are cur­rently 17 mem­bers of the IOC pro­duc­ing 97 per­cent of the world’s olive oil and account­ing for 96 per­cent of exports. The mem­bers are; Albania, Algeria, Argentina, the European Union, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.

Since the incep­tion of the IOC, global pro­duc­tion of olive oil has almost tripled from one mil­lion tons in 1958/59 to just under three mil­lion in 2015/16. The increase over the years has not been uni­form and often fluc­tu­ated depend­ing on mar­ket con­di­tions, vol­ume and qual­ity of crop pro­duc­tions, weather con­di­tions and so on.

Up until the mid 1990s pro­duc­tion had slowly increased and then lev­elled off for three con­sec­u­tive crop years at around 1,800,000 tons. Before then, there were sev­eral bumper har­vests in the early 1960s and what the IOC described as an off year” in 1981/82.

Production moved up again in 1996/97 when it reached 2.5 mil­lion tons for the first time. From there, pro­duc­tion con­tin­ued to rise, even­tu­ally top­ping 3 mil­lion tons in 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2010/11 and peak­ing at an all time high with 3.3. mil­lion tons in 2013/14.

Production has swung back and forth much more sharply over the last five crop years from highs of 3.3 mil­lion tons in 2013/14 to a low of 2.4 mil­lion tons in 2012/13 and 2014/15.

These large sways are not only due to the off-on pat­tern of the olive trees. Other causes are adverse weather con­di­tions — heavy rain in some areas and very high tem­per­a­tures in oth­ers — and numer­ous dis­ease issues in cer­tain pro­ducer coun­tries.”


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