` Tough Going for Argentine Olive Oil Industry - Olive Oil Times

Tough Going for Argentine Olive Oil Industry

Jun 16, 2010 12:51 PM EDT
Daniel Williams

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The cur­rent pric­ing cri­sis in the olive oil sec­tor, the deval­u­a­tion of the euro, poor cli­matic con­di­tions and prob­lems in obtain­ing suf­fi­cient agrar­ian labor have all con­tributed to the grow­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in the Argentinean olive oil indus­try which is not expected to do well this sea­son. These prob­lems are com­pounded with other sys­temic issues like infla­tion and low lev­els of inter­nal con­sump­tion. Argentineans con­sume only .15 liters of olive oil per per­son annu­ally while world leader Greece con­sumes 24 liters per per­son and Spain and Italy each con­sume around 14 liters.

Mario Bustos Carra, gen­eral man­ager of the Cuyo Chamber of Exterior Commerce explains that this year will be, extremely com­pli­cated in the first place because of for­eign com­pe­ti­tion and inter­nal fac­tors like infla­tion which will gen­er­ate seri­ous dif­fi­cul­ties for pro­duc­ers and the indus­try as a whole due to recent falls in prof­its and cost-effi­ciency”. Similarly, he feels that there is not much opti­mism” even though Europe has ini­ti­ated quick mea­sures to sup­port the sec­tor abroad.

In Argentina, the price of olive oil has dropped some 30% in spite of Argentinean olive grow­ers posi­tion­ing them­selves as leader of the region due to the qual­ity of their prod­ucts.

Miguel Zuccardi, CEO of the Argentinean wine and olive giant Familia Zuccardi, claims that, this year the olive har­vest has not been good due to a num­ber of cli­matic fac­tors”. Speaking for the Argentinean olive oil sec­tor Zuccardi cited low inter­na­tional prices as a key obsta­cle. We face a rather dis­cour­ag­ing year”, he said. From a busi­ness per­spec­tive we will be con­cen­trat­ing on qual­ity assur­ance as a long term plan as inter­na­tional prices will not recover until April of 2011”.

These poor expec­ta­tions seem to have divided the Argentinean olive oil sec­tor into var­i­ous camps. Some think that there are more sig­nif­i­cant issues to con­sider besides cer­ti­fy­ing the qual­ity of the prod­uct avail­able to con­sumers. While half of the sec­tor has fought for mea­sures to ensure the authen­tic­ity of the olive oil on the mar­ket, oth­ers have done the exact oppo­site and have lob­bied heav­ily to drop these guide­lines and mod­ify the exist­ing Argentinean Food Code.

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