L’association Française Interprofessionelle de L’Olive, (AFIDOL) the interprofessional association for olive oil in France, held a general assembly in Nice to outline the activities for the past year and to assess the results at the end of its three year mandate.

The private organization set up in 1999 works with French olive growers, 230 private and public millers, commercial agents, table olive producers and olive tree nurseries to improve and develop the production, processing and marketing of French olive oil. AFIDOL organizes various seminars, conferences and short courses mostly funded by the millers and producers themselves.

Producers of olive oil in France, both professionals and non professionals, must pay AFIDOL for the oils they process. Described as a tax in France, this Cotisation Volontaire Obligatoire (CVO) has been a subject of much controversy over the years (CVO translates literally as contribution, voluntary obligatory), leaving many to ponder how something can be compulsory and voluntary at the same time.

Olive oil producers pay 14 centimes per kilogram of oil which the mill owner collects while producers of table olives pay CVO based at 2 centimes per kilogram for olives collected by the confiseur who prepares the table olives. The miller also pays AFIDOL for all the oils processed on site – 0.01 centime per kilogram of oil. Small producers can claim reimbursements if they can prove the oils are for family use.

At the general meeting in June, Oliver Nasles,52, was re-elected as President of AFIDOL. Referring to the economic trends and activity, Nasles said although the French appreciated the good quality and taste, they found French extra virgin olive oil expensive.

Studies carried out over a period of 6 years showed a weak commercial effectiveness of the organization. Nasles said it was important for professionals to help consumers identify French olive oils using the new stickers Huile d’Olive du Midi de la France which AFIDOL introduced recently.

At the assembly, Nasles said he wanted to increase the number of delegates of the General Assembly from 52 to 54 and Administration Council to 28. The president blamed the poor olive oil results for 2011 on bad weather in France adding that it resulted in a loss of over 300,000 euros for AFIDOL.

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