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Olive Council Reaches Out to Emerging South American Industry

Oct. 18, 2011
Charlie Higgins

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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.



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