Rising Adversity in Olive Oil Sector Gives Rise to New ‘Olive Council’ in Córdoba

The Consejo del Olivar de Córdoba seeks to improve quality, promote local production and preserve the province’s rich oil culture.
Photo courtesy of Antonio Ruiz
Oct. 13, 2020
Paolo DeAndreis

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The evolv­ing nature of the olive oil mar­ket, per­sis­tently low prices, and the con­se­quences of the Covid-19 pan­demic have fueled the for­ma­tion of a new orga­ni­za­tion in the Spanish province of Córdoba.

The Consejo del Olivar de Córdoba (Córdoba Olive Council) is open to mem­bers of the entire sec­tor, from local admin­is­tra­tive enti­ties and small farm­ers to uni­ver­sity researchers, oil mills, bot­tling com­pa­nies and pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions, among oth­ers.

We all must be a part of it and per­ceive (the Córdoba Olive Council) like an instru­ment to together develop and defend our olives and our olive oils.- Antonio Ruiz, pres­i­dent, Córdoba province

The Diputación de Córdoba, the province’s local gov­ern­ing author­ity, recently hosted the first meet­ing of the new orga­ni­za­tion. The province’s pres­i­dent said its goal would be to develop a series of long-term strate­gies and revival plans for one of the main dri­vers of the local econ­omy.

Its found­ing has been an absolute neces­sity, since we are aware of the rel­e­vance of olives for the whole province, being the main source of devel­op­ment and income in many munic­i­pal­i­ties,” Antonio Ruiz, pres­i­dent of the province, said.

See Also: Olive Oil Business News

After Jaén, Córdoba is the sec­ond-largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing province in Andalusia, and all of Spain.

The goal of the new orga­ni­za­tion is also to offer a tool for seam­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion among the numer­ous dif­fer­ent par­tic­i­pants in the olive oil pro­duc­tion chain.

We believe the coun­cil will include all those that have some­thing to say, hav­ing as goals the eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the sec­tor and the pro­mo­tion of the olive-grow­ing cul­ture, while facil­i­tat­ing dia­logue among farm­ers asso­ci­a­tions, coop­er­a­tives, oil mills and munic­i­pal author­i­ties,” Ruiz said dur­ing his open­ing state­ment at the meet­ing.

So far, the Córdoba Olive Council already has a num­ber of promi­nent mem­bers from the sec­tor, includ­ing all of Spain’s major farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tions, the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities (AEMO), rep­re­sen­ta­tives from four local Protected Designation of Origin farms (Baena, Lucena, Montoro-Adamuz and Priego de Córdoba) and the University of Córdoba.

Each of these mem­bers will be respon­si­ble for tak­ing on one of the six main areas of inter­ven­tion that the coun­cil has been tasked to solve.

The Association of the Young Farmers (Asaja) will coor­di­nate the activ­i­ties to improve the inno­va­tion and com­pe­ti­tion of provin­cial olive oils and AEMO will work on the moun­tain olive grove project, which sup­ports and pro­motes sev­eral of the province’s PDO olive oil pro­duc­ers.

Meanwhile, the Union of Small Farmers (UPA) will spear­head issues per­tain­ing to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and the Coordinator of Agriculture and Livestock Organizations (COAG) will focus on olive oil prices and the over­all mar­ket.

The University of Córdoba will focus its efforts on improv­ing olive oil qual­ity, while local oil mills are tasked with pro­mot­ing the province’s olive oil and pre­serv­ing its olive oil cul­ture.

This mul­ti­fac­eted com­po­si­tion will not bring con­tro­versy because the new entity is not a tool for dis­agree­ments, it is an insti­tu­tion for pro­mot­ing dia­logue and con­sen­sus, and it will not be polit­i­cally exploited,” Ruiz said.

We need to stick together and with the olive sec­tor because we all under­stand its rel­e­vance,” he added. We all must be a part of it and per­ceive it like an instru­ment to together develop and defend our olives and our olive oils.”


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