Olive oil pro­duc­ers in the province of Buenos Aires have stalled in an effort to cre­ate a stamp of qual­ity — sim­i­lar to a Protected Designation of Origin — which would iden­tify locally pro­duced extra vir­gin olive oil and poten­tially increase the price at which it is sold.

According to Lorena Tedesco, a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at the National University of the South (UNS) who worked on the project, a lack of orga­ni­za­tion from the province’s South Chamber of Oliviculture has led to the inac­tion.

(The goal was to) give pro­duc­ers the tools to eval­u­ate and give them guid­ance in their busi­ness strate­gies.- Beatriz Lupin, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the National University of Mar de Plata

After Tedesco and her col­leagues helped research the issue and pro­vided advice and guid­ance to the pro­duc­ers, she told Olive Oil Times that it would ulti­mately be up to them to imple­ment and orga­nize the pro­gram.

Most of the olive oil pro­duc­tion in Buenos Aires takes place in the south­west of the province, which is located in the semi-arid and sub-humid Pampas.

See more: Olive Oil Producers in Argentina Hope to Follow Malbecs Lead

Due to the com­bi­na­tion of the province’s cli­mate and geog­ra­phy along with a lack of invest­ment in the sec­tor, a rel­a­tively small amount of olive oil pro­duc­tion takes place in Buenos Aires. In spite of all of this, Mario Fernandez, a local pro­ducer and for­mer pres­i­dent of the South Chamber of Oliviculture, said that 2019 had been a good year for local pro­duc­ers, both in terms of qual­ity and quan­tity.

He said the region pro­duced about 1,250 tons or about three per­cent of Argentina’s total pro­duc­tion in 2019.

However, what the province lacks in quan­tity, experts believe it makes up with qual­ity.

Olivares La Reconquista

According to research from Susana Picardi, a pro­fes­sor at UNS, the prox­im­ity to the ocean, cold win­ters and ther­mal ampli­tude favor the slow ripen­ing of the olives, which leads to a high phe­no­lic con­tent and a high pro­por­tion of oleic acid in the result­ing oil.

Data like that led to the idea that a locally-pro­duced olive oil could com­mand a higher price than the oth­ers shar­ing super­mar­ket shelves.

See more: Argentina’s Best Olive Oils

Beatriz Lupin, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the National University of Mar de Plata who worked on the effort to cre­ate the stamp, told Olive Oil Times the goal of the project was to “give pro­duc­ers the tools to eval­u­ate and give them guid­ance in their busi­ness strate­gies.”

A study con­ducted by Lupin and her research team in 2017 found that 55 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants said that they would be will­ing to pay up to 50 per­cent more for a bot­tle of extra vir­gin olive oil with the local stamp of qual­ity.

From that point, it has been up to the South Chamber of Oliviculture to orga­nize and begin imple­ment­ing the plan. According to Tedesco, this will be an uphill bat­tle.

A het­ero­ge­neous qual­ity of the oils pro­duced in Buenos Aires and the prac­tice of mix­ing local oils with those from other regions are two of the chal­lenges fac­ing pro­duc­ers and the Chamber in the imple­men­ta­tion of the plan.

There are smaller chal­lenges, too, mostly to do with a lack of orga­ni­za­tion and coop­er­a­tion among pro­duc­ers.

However, Tedesco pointed out that the ground remains fer­tile for the cre­ation of a local qual­ity stamp. Demand for high-qual­ity and locally-pro­duced prod­ucts is grow­ing in the province and, she believes, there is an oppor­tu­nity for local farm­ers and pro­duc­ers to profit.



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