`A Regional Approach to Help Organic Olive Oil Producers - Olive Oil Times

A Regional Approach to Help Organic Olive Oil Producers

Jun. 25, 2010
Lucy Vivante

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By Lucy Vivante
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Rome

It may sound like a biotech med­ical com­pany, but it’s not. It is a short­en­ing and join­ing of the words Biologico and Mediterraneo and refers to a newly formed group of organic olive oil pro­duc­ers from four EU coun­tries: Italy, Spain, Greece, and Malta. Today, the group had its inau­gural meet­ing at IAM‑B, the Institute for Mediterranean Agronomy, in Bari, Puglia’s cap­i­tal. Cosimo Lacirignola, Director of the Institute said that Olive oil has been part of human his­tory for at least 8,000 years. In the Mediterranean there isn’t room for com­pe­ti­tion, the con­cept of our com­pli­ment­ing one another should pre­vail.” They are, how­ever, hop­ing to boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of organic ver­sus non-organic olive oil. The group
and their projects are being under­writ­ten with funds from the European Union.

BiolMed will cre­ate a per­ma­nent transna­tional net­work made up of Circles to Promote Quality Organic Olive Oil.” These regional branches will sup­port organic pro­duc­ers, with the pur­pose of improv­ing the qual­ity of organic olive oil, and to orga­nize regional meet­ings and fairs. Manuals regard­ing the pro­duc­tion of high qual­ity organic olive oil and a cat­a­log with infor­ma­tion about inno­va­tions will be pub­lished. Acquisition groups and farm­ers mar­kets will be devel­oped to help small local pro­duc­ers. (Italy has been in the throes of a food scare and recall: blue moz­zarella, imported from Germany, has led the news for the past week. Because of the vivid blue moz­zarella, buy­ing locally has also had a lot of play in the news.)

BiolMed springs from the Premio Biol, or Organic Olive Oil Prize, an inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion and fes­ti­val in Puglia. Puglia is the world cen­ter for organic olive oil and the fes­ti­val has been tak­ing place for the past 15 years. Two of the prizes, which had been voted upon in April, were pre­sented today: Masseriola,” an olive oil pro­duced by Ascoli Satriano and win­ner of the Dauno Prize (Dauno is the area around Foggia) and to De Carlo,” an extra-vir­gin olive oil, pro­duced by Bitritto, win­ner of the National Biolpak Prize.

The lead­ing part­ners in the BiolMed project are the fol­low­ing. For Italy: Bari’s IAM‑B, the Institute of Mediterranean Agronomy; flanked by the Italian mem­bers of the Mediterranean Council; the Puglia Regional Agriculture Council; CIBI, the Italian Consortium of Organic Foods; and ICEA, the Certifying Institute for Ethics and the Environment. For Greece: the Technological Educational Institution for the Ionian Islands; and DIO, Certification & Inspection Organisation of Organic Products. For Spain: CAFAGE, the Centre for Education and Training on Organic Farming and SAEA, the Spanish Society of Organic Farming. For Malta: the Mgarr Local Council.

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