Spanish Agricultural Adviser Warns Industry Leaders That Olive Oil Sector Needs Improvement to Match Growing Levels of Production
Ms. Clara Aguilera, Head Agricultural Adviser in Andalucía, the largest olive oil producing region in the world, affirmed that the Spanish olive oil sector has experienced vast advances in methods of production, but that there is still work to be done to commercialize and market these large quantities of olive oil. She stated that Spain needs to continue to act as leaders in this commercialization effort, citing growing competition from newly emerging olive oil markets around
the world as a threat to Spanish dominance.
These statements came at a meeting with Antonio Ávila, Adviser of Economy, Development and Science and with other leading members of the Andalucían olive oil sector on July 5th. The purpose of the forum was to analyze the current situation in Spain’s olive oil sector and search for new ways to make Spanish olive oil more competitive internationally. In Ms. Aguilera’s own words, the meeting was held to forge a discussion about, “what to do with the agro-industry in Andalucía, a sector that has already made important steps… to maintain its current position.”
Similarly, Antonio Ávila advised Andalucían olive oil companies to begin to consider what kind of international role they would need to play in order to remain competitive in the future. At the same time, he was optimistic and stressed the great potential of the Andalucían olive oil industry, one that employs over 55,000 people and 4,700 companies and whose exports make up over 40% of international sales leaving southern Spain.
Ms. Aguilera noted that perhaps the most important advance needed would be the attainment of greater added value costs. To this end, she signaled that Andalucía needs to employ additional marketing tools like the 2013 Agro-industrial Horizon Plan, written jointly by social agents and economists. She further emphasized the need for increased internationalization efforts and concentration on marketing initiatives directed to increase the competitiveness of Spanish olive oil: “This is not a single specific meeting,” she said. “We are going to
continue working and make these efforts a reality in our upcoming encounters.” 1