Coming off a strong campaign in 2010 – 2011, Argentina continues to be the International Olive Council’s only member in Latin America, but several other countries in the region are now receiving greater attention from the Madrid-based intergovernmental organization.
Argentina and Chile were the top olive oil producers in the region last year, producing 17,500 and 21,000 tons respectively. Argentina was far and away the top producer of table olives (203,500 tons), followed by Peru (41,000 tons), Chile (34,000 tons) and Mexico (8,000 tons).
“Argentina chose to become a member of the IOC and this allows for a better understanding of the reality of the Argentine industry,” IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol said, according to a report in Portalolivicola. “It forces the members of the organization to consider this reality in their reflections.”
He described the olive oil industry in Latin America as “relatively young but very dynamic,” and said that it deserves “all the attention and the support of the IOC.”
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The IOC is currently negotiating with industry leaders in Chile, Peru and Uruguay to initiate similar evolutions in these countries and in November IOC representatives will meet with industry leaders to discuss the possibility of IOC membership. In 2012 the IOC plans to hold a conference in Buenos Aires for all the major olive-growing countries in the region.
Barjol reiterated that the Spanish olive oil industry is still facing major pricing issues, which continue to cause a spillover effect in other IOC member countries. For these newer Latin American industries to remain profitable, he said they must focus their message on the health benefits of olive oil and its flavor.