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Uruguayan Olive Oil Production Expected to Grow

Dec 16, 2011 9:24 AM EST
Charlie Higgins

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2012 promises to be a break­out year for Uruguay’s emerg­ing olive oil sec­tor, recent reports have indi­cated. Improved tech­no­log­i­cal resources, heavy invest­ments at home and abroad, and inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion are some of the major fac­tors con­tribut­ing to new­found opti­mism among indus­try pro­fes­sion­als.

Though still rel­a­tively small by world stan­dards, Uruguayan olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to grow by 200 per­cent next year.

Roughly 35 mil­lion dol­lars have been pumped into the indus­try over the past 10 years, help­ing to raise pro­duc­tion lev­els to an aver­age 150,000 liters annu­ally. The coun­try is cur­rently home to 150 pro­duc­ers, 20 brands and 9,000 hectares of olive groves.

This momen­tum shows no signs of slow­ing down accord­ing to indus­try ana­lysts, who expect the olive oil sec­tor to con­tribute $40 mil­lion a year to Uruguay’s econ­omy by 2021.

Alberto Peverelli, pres­i­dent of the Uruguayan Olive Oil Association (ASOLUR) cre­ated in 2004, rec­og­nized improve­ments in recent years to build a more mod­ern and effi­cient” indus­try and said both for­eign and national invest­ments have played a major role in sec­tor growth.

Despite these promis­ing signs, the domes­tic mar­ket for olive oil remains slug­gish. Uruguayans con­sume just 0.4 liters a year per capita (the aver­age Spaniard uses over 10 liters annu­ally). However the indus­try hopes to boost sales by cham­pi­oning the health ben­e­fits of daily olive oil con­sump­tion in a nation­wide cam­paign.

Uruguay’s min­is­ter of Industry, Energy and Mining, Roberto Kreimerman, said the growth of the olive oil indus­try is not only prof­itable but good for the country’s image as well.

This prod­uct embod­ies the image of reli­a­bil­ity and qual­ity that is Uruguay today,” he said.

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