Italian Agricultural Minister Maurizio Martina

The State-Regions Conference, a coordinating body of government and regional territories, approved the first National Olive Sector Plan that should be implemented by the end of summer. “€32 million has been invested to help the reorganization of the sector, which will be supported by the regional funds for the agricultural development,” the Minister of Agriculture (MIPAAF) Maurizio Martina announced.

The plan was instituted by law 91/15 of July 2, 2015 that contains measures to relaunch agricultural sectors, support to agricultural enterprises affected by exceptional events and rationalize ministerial structures. It provides for €32 million to be spent by 2017 in operational measures aimed at increasing domestic production of extra virgin olive oil and olives, promoting products and supporting a stronger organization of the national production supply chain.

“With the approval of the first National olive sector plan, we begin to define a production strategy that was missing for too many years in Italy,” Maurizio Martina added. “The goal shared with the whole supply chain is an improvement in terms of quality and quantity. We decided to promote the reorganization of Italian olive oil and olive growing sector, with an act that will be supported with regional resources for agricultural development. Our work does not stop there. We look at the future of the sector and at the new opportunities at international level.”

The MIPAAF said there are about 900,000 olive farms in Italy, producing on average 475,000 tons of olive oil from Italian olives, and the volume of the €3 billion business accounts for 3 percent of the total agri-food industry turnover.

According to the official document, the olive sector plan is a programmatic policy statement which consists of the definition of strategic objectives, the identification of possible enforcement actions and the recognition of resources. The guidelines have been drawn up on the basis of the main problems of the area, examined with the assistance of regional institutions and operators, and taking into account the structural evolution of the sector. The document provides a preliminary statistical-economic description of the background and supply chain organization, followed by a SWOT analysis (which identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the sector). The funding will be invested in the implementation of actions and measures to pursue the following objectives:

  • to increase the national production of olives and extra virgin olive oil, without intensifying the pressure on natural resources, especially on water, through the rationalization of traditional olive groves, the renovation of production facilities and the introduction of new growing systems which integrate environmental and economic sustainability, with reference to the landscape value, territory protection and history;
  • to support and promote research activities;
  • to support initiatives which promote the Made in Italy and certified high quality extra virgin olive oils, including actions for the promotion of the product on the domestic and international market;
  • to stimulate the recovery of native varieties of table olives in the new mechanized facilities;
  • to promote and support the aggregation and the economic organization of the operators of the olive oil sector, in accordance with the regulations of the contract negotiations provided by the Regulation (EU) no. 1308 of the European Parliament and of the Council, dated 17 December 2013.

“We launched the national plan, which was expected by the entire sector due to the recent difficulties, like the measures on Tunisian olive oil and the Xylella emergency,” said the assessor of the Apulia Region and coordinator of the Agriculture Committee at Conference of the Regions, Leonardo Di Gioia. “This important act is useful to carry out a series of actions that will strengthen the quality of Italian olive oil and focus on an important sector for the future of our agriculture.”

“The green light of the State-Regions Conference at the national plan, definitively unlocks new energies for the sector,” the President of Unaprol David Granieri affirmed. “Now we can take action to increase domestic production, develop research activities, promote the Made in Italy, stimulate the varietal recovery of table olives, encourage new cultivations and enhance and support the aggregation of Italian olive oil supply chain,” he added. “We have the opportunity to restart the industry and give new life to the economy of the sector in the production territories.”

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