`High Hopes, Few Answers as Harvest Gets Underway in Italy

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High Hopes, Few Answers as Harvest Gets Underway in Italy

Oct. 8, 2015
Ylenia Granitto

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Har­vest has started in Italy with great expec­ta­tions in a sea­son that is hoped to be some­thing of a renais­sance for the national olive grow­ing sec­tor, but it’s too soon to tell if such hopes will be ful­filled, said Raf­faele Maio­rano, the pres­i­dent of ANGA, the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Young Farm­ers.

The group sup­ports youth entre­pre­neur­ial ini­tia­tives while pro­mot­ing an agri­cul­ture that looks to the future and respects tra­di­tions through dia­logue with gov­ern­ment and insti­tu­tions.

Pro­duc­tion in 2015 is expected to be higher than in 2014, but Maio­rano has good rea­sons to assume that many vari­ables can still affect the final yields and we have to wait until Decem­ber to obtain a real bal­ance. Nev­er­the­less, we can say for sure that olive oil qual­ity will be higher than last year since the weather con­di­tions inhib­ited the out­break of the olive fruit fly and other dis­eases, and the farm­ers worked have hard to real­ize effec­tive pre­ven­tive mea­sures.”

Aware­ness is grow­ing and our com­mit­ment is to sup­port and facil­i­tate the activ­ity of key play­ers, espe­cially young olive entre­pre­neurs, in this cru­cial moment.- Raf­faele Maio­rano, National Asso­ci­a­tion of Young Farm­ers

Higher prices due to last year’s lower pro­duc­tion have pro­vided some relief, Maio­rano said.

Prices are finally fair for the first time in many years, in par­tic­u­lar with regard to cer­tain areas. Two years ago, olive oil from Cal­abria, Sicily and Apu­lia was sold by pro­duc­ers to sup­pli­ers at a price rang­ing from €3.80 to €4.50 per liter, while last year prices raised between €5.00 and €7.00 (for organic EVOO) per liter.”

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The leg­isla­tive pro­posal adopted by Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to offer addi­tional tem­po­rary access for Tunisian olive oil to the EU mar­ket, increas­ing the monthly exports quota, is a hot topic these days.

Sup­port­ing Tunisi­a’s recov­ery in this dif­fi­cult period is a noble and indis­pens­able act,” Maio­rano con­sid­ered, but this kind of mea­sure risks dam­ag­ing our farm­ers. Increas­ing non-EU exports with­out ade­quate pro­vi­sions (such as requir­ing the label to indi­cate the coun­try of ori­gin), can cause traders to import at very low prices, engag­ing in unfair com­pe­ti­tion to the detri­ment of local pro­duc­tion.”

We ask the gov­ern­ment and our rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to pro­tect Ital­ian pro­duc­tion, through an ade­quate eval­u­a­tion of this pro­posal,” he said.

Regard­ing the so-called CoDiRo syn­drome that is plagu­ing olive trees in Salento, the Xylella emer­gency was a dra­matic event but we are now very pos­i­tive. We are con­fi­dent in the sci­en­tists and researchers that con­tained the prob­lem with excel­lent results and stemmed the out­break,” he affirmed.

EVOO is hav­ing a moment,” Maio­rano declared, com­pa­ra­ble to what wine expe­ri­enced a few years ago. Things are chang­ing both for the olive oil pro­duc­ers and for con­sumers. The oper­a­tors in the restau­rant indus­try are com­pre­hend­ing the impor­tance to offer their clients not only excel­lent wine but also high-qual­ity EVOO. Aware­ness is grow­ing and our com­mit­ment is to sup­port and facil­i­tate the activ­ity of key play­ers, espe­cially young olive entre­pre­neurs, in this cru­cial moment.”

Experts and oper­a­tors can talk about all these insights and more on Octo­ber 23 – 24 at the 16th Meet­ing of Exec­u­tives of ANGA in Palermo (Sicily), an event held every two years.

This edition’s theme regards the new model of agribusi­ness. ANGA will sug­gest the right tools to join the tran­si­tion from the cur­rent sta­tus of farm­ers to a new con­di­tion of agri­cul­tural entre­pre­neurs, in order to redi­rect the olive sec­tor into a mod­ern and dynamic path.

We will dis­cuss a new devel­op­ment model giv­ing con­crete answers, going beyond slo­gans, pro­vid­ing sup­port with effec­tive solu­tions for a new national agri­cul­tural entre­pre­neur­ship. We will talk about Europe, inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion, and myths of inno­va­tion.”

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