Italy may have a shortage of extra virgin olive oil this year, but it will still have plenty of other products to export in the next months. The European country produces some of the finest wines and olive oils in the whole world, but let us say that it’s not just a matter of how prodigal Mother Earth has been here. Italians have always been recognized for their inventiveness, as the beautiful promo-video “Italia – the extraordinary commonplace” circulating on the Internet in the last few days accurately shows.
So it’s no surprise that Italy exports not only its outstanding products but the necessary technology and know-how to produce them.
Some of the state-of-the-art technology in the olive oil and wine-making fields was on display at the second edition of Enoliexpo exhibit which took place from January 30 to February 1 in the town of Fermo, in the central region of Marche.
The event was launched with a press conference at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, an eminent location that confirms the interest and willingness of Italian Government in upholding the national olive growing sector.
Pietro Sandali, general manager at Unaprol, a partner of the exhibit, stressed the importance of investing in scientific research to improve the Italian olive oil industry’s efficiency and competitiveness, which is mainly based on traditional, fragmented production, against the global market’s challenges.
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The biennial fair included exhibitors featuring tools and machinery, nursery products, harvesting and processing materials and technology linked to the wine and olive oil production and hosted a number of interesting conferences featuring corporations such as DowAgroscience (the Italian branch of the American company offering sustainable agricultural production solutions), Unaprol and the Regional Agricultural Agency, ASSAM.
One of the most appreciated meetings was dedicated to the phytosanitary management of the phytophagous parasites such as the olive fly and moth, an issue that was hugely appreciated by Italian olive growers due to the difficult harvest experienced this year.
The experts were optimistic that another “Black Year” could be prevented, forecasting a better harvest for next year and an increase in olive oil production for the Marche Region, which this season faced a dramatic loss of about 50 perent.
Sandro Nardi, Assam’s phytosanitary service manager, invited the growers to pay close attention to trees’ warnings, and to be ready to intervene, armed with new products that have proven to be effective against the olive fly.
Franco Famiani of the University of Perugia confirmed the importance of prompt agronomic care, including adequate pruning, good harvest timing and correct fertilization to reach an optimal and lasting balance to guarantee good outputs.
Barbara Alfei, Assam’s panel leader, illustrated the results of a wrong phytosanitary plant protection on olive oil quality: a strong olive fly infestation, she explained, defaces the chemical and sensorial features, jeopardizing the extra virgin classification of the product.
The conference, dedicated to the theme “competitive olive growing between research and innovation,” was organized by Unaprol in collaboration with Coldiretti Marche and Pandolea (the olive oil women association).
Maurizio Servili from the University of Perugia presented the interesting results of research for the Unaprol’s Scientific Observatory to exploit olive oil production waste products such as waters and pomaces, and explained how to control extra virgin quality in difficult year by working on the milling temperatures and timings.
Dalt – an IT company specialized in Business Intelligence and technology solutions for agriculture – proposed Oleum: a specific management information system to help olive oil producers manage and monitor the production process, tracking the “history” of every batch.