By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

European Copa-Cogeca Committee Pleads for the Slowed Production of Olive Oil to Rescue World Prices

Copa-Cogeca, the Committee of Agrarian Organizations and European Cooperatives, voted June 1 to support a plan of private warehousing in order to recalibrate an olive oil market in serious difficulty. In the same vein, they called for urgent measures to rescue the olive industry which has also suffered greatly in the past year.

The committee, which represents a spectrum of European growers, deemed it necessary to implement a private warehousing plan, something experts consider a much healthier alternative to a plan of public intervention. The plan rewards companies that warehouse their product instead of distributing it, thereby containing the overall olive oil supply and theoretically, driving prices back up to a favorable level.  The Copa-Cogeca committee is advocating firmly for this plan in order to appropriately adjust the world market to current costs of production.  They claim prices are outdated after being fixed for a decade and need to address current losses in the sector. The prices of the world olive oil sector fell 15.2% in 2009.

Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of the organization, assured that it would be necessary to implement these measures to avoid the very cause of the current crises the olive oil industry is suffering at present. She also acknowledged similar issues among olive growers and affirmed that the “disequilibrium of power in the food chain” has reverberated throughout the European Union and has grossly affected the strength of olive-based industry. The Copa-Cogeca committee also noted that the global market has not rewarded the various investments by the majority of companies that have been designed to improve the quality of the olive oil product.

With the intent of improving this situation, European growers have asked for the implementation of the private warehousing program, but warn that in the long-term the market will need structural change and other forms of assistance. They have petitioned for cooperative efforts to guarantee and provide rewards for the quality of an olive product. Copa-Cogeca is also advocating labeling methods which highlight the nutritional value of olive oil along with promotional  campaigns designed to inform consumers about the health-giving qualities of olive based products.

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