`Argentina Proposes Wine Sector Control of Olive Oil Market - Olive Oil Times

Argentina Proposes Wine Sector Control of Olive Oil Market

Sep 21, 2010 7:18 AM EDT
Sarah Schwager

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By Sarah Schwager
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires

Argentinean farm­ers, busi­ness­men and olive agency rep­re­sen­ta­tives have come out in force against a draft bill that pro­poses to give con­trol of the olive mar­ket to Argentina’s wine reg­u­la­tor.

Authored by Mendoza Representative Patricia Fadel, President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner’s main rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Parliament, the bill seeks to empower the National Institute of Vitiviniculture (INV) as the body that con­trols the activ­i­ties of the sec­tor and reg­u­lates the with­hold­ings of bot­tled olive oil.

south-america-argentina-proposes-wine-sector-control-of-olive-oil-market-olive-oil-times-patricia-fadel--olive-oil-times
Patricia Fadel

The pro­posal has trig­gered a huge response among the olive sec­tor. For exam­ple, the olive indus­try busi­ness rela­tion­ship orga­ni­za­tion PortalOlivicola.com has received responses from the Olive Federation of Argentina (FOA), the Agriculture Federation of Argentina (FAA), Chambers of Foreign Trade (CCE), and Mendoza’s Olive Chamber, among oth­ers.

While the vast major­ity of respon­dents dis­agree with the pro­posal, some feel that it could bring cer­tain ben­e­fits such as the dis­ap­pear­ance of adul­ter­ated olive oil from the mar­ket.

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Mendoza Olive Chamber Representative Facundo Gomensoro told PortalOlivicola.com the ini­tial idea was to cre­ate a National Olive Institute to man­age the sec­tor, tak­ing on board the learn­ing expe­ri­ences of the INV, how­ever sev­eral dif­fi­cul­ties arose. The INV has a his­tory of reli­a­bil­ity, cov­ers vir­tu­ally all
areas of olives, its lab­o­ra­to­ries can eas­ily do all the analy­sis relat­ing to olive oil,

south-america-argentina-proposes-wine-sector-control-of-olive-oil-market-olive-oil-times-luis-arata--olive-oil-times
Arata

and wine cul­ture greatly resem­bles that of olive oil, among many other sim­i­lar­i­ties,” he said.

President of the FOA, Luis Arata, how­ever, says all that the project achieves is to find an alter­na­tive reg­u­la­tor with­out con­sult­ing the sec­tor. He says the draft bill is totally unfair” and the olive indus­try needs a body that knows the sec­tor and that rep­re­sents the voice of the major­ity of the sec­tor.

To put olive grow­ing within an insti­tu­tion that exports more than $2 bil­lion when the olive sec­tor exports less than $120 mil­lion is to put the fate of the sec­tor to peo­ple who are not inter­ested in it and who are going to pro­vide noth­ing more than expen­di­tures,” Mr Arata said.

President of the FAA’s Olive Commission Fabián Núñez Acosta says there are already pub­lic and pri­vate insti­tu­tions that have been work­ing with the olive sec­tor for more than 15 years. He says the sec­tor needs the help of these very qual­i­fied peo­ple, along with the expe­ri­ences of researchers from Argentina’s numer­ous uni­ver­si­ties, insti­tutes and asso­ci­a­tions located in the country’s olive-grow­ing regions that have worked for years to help develop the olive indus­try.

Meanwhile, olive-grow­ing region Cuyo’s Chamber of Representatives unan­i­mously rejected the pro­posal. Deputy leader of the Peronist Movement Juan Cruz Miranda described the ini­tia­tive as an offense against Catamarca and La Rioja, the main pro­duc­ers of olive oil in Argentina. The draft bill also pro­poses to main­tain the with­hold­ing tax for the export of bot­tled olive oil at 5% for prod­ucts man­u­fac­tured in bulk, which is con­sid­ered exces­sive by the indus­try.

Olive indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives have agreed to review the project and sug­gest any con­tri­bu­tions they believe will enhance the pro­posal by the end of this month.

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