'It is necessary to educate and inform oneself about the functioning of the sector in other countries'

Mariola Gómez Chica, directora de Unaproliva y responsable del área oleícola de AGQ Labs

What differentiates your company from others like it?

We differentiate ourselves by our ability to provide the sector with an integral proposal of analytical and consulting services, from advice in the field so that the olive production is efficient and sustainable, through the accompaniment in the oil production process and its commercialization. Studies of the quality and purity of the oil, safety control of the products placed on the market and ensuring proper compliance with environmental requirements in production are part of our value proposition.

These differentials are based on AGQ Labs' in-depth knowledge of the sector, its needs and concerns. The experience of our team of professionals, experts in various disciplines, combined with advanced instrumentation, accreditations and recognitions such as the International Olive Council, are the key to be able to have technical interpretations of the analytical results to help in decision making.

What technologies does the company use for professionals in the olive grove and olive oil sector?

We have several unique and distinctive services that have been developed with the use of cutting edge technologies. Our agricultural soils laboratory, Soil Factory Lab, has the most advanced laboratory equipment with full automation of the analytical processes. This leading edge technology not only allows us to maintain a very high production rate, but also guarantees the quality and accuracy of the data obtained.

On the other hand, with our GIS (Geographic Information System) and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) mapping services, our customers have access to diagnostic satellite maps of the distribution and evolution of nutrients in soil and plants throughout the crop cycle, which they can consult on an advanced interactive online platform. These fertility maps are an indispensable precision agriculture tool to know the nutritional status of crops and work towards a more productive and sustainable agriculture.

We also have a worldwide patented system for nutritional monitoring of crops that increases production, improves quality and helps to achieve higher profitability. All this is achieved by optimizing fertilization and irrigation costs and resources, while controlling salt levels, avoiding nitrate leaching and other elements, and respecting the environment.

Finally, our R&D&I department is constantly working on the development of new analytical methodologies and on the automation and robotization of laboratory processes.

What value do olive oil consumers place on food safety, and what about producers?

For the consumer, food safety in oil is a basic requirement, to consume safe products. But they also pay attention to other fundamental factors such as the quality and purity of the oil, its nutritional value, responsible and sustainable production with the environment and the social environment. The consumer's concern is also undoubtedly the price, being able to access the product.

This same concern extends to producers, who ensure the safety of consumers, meeting their demands in terms of availability, safety and price, even though this can sometimes affect their profit margins. This is why professionalization in the sector is permanent in order to meet the interests of all the actors in the chain.

How would you encourage professionals in the olive oil value chain to attend the Olive Oil World Congress?

This type of meeting should bring together the entire sector, to share our concerns, our ideas, our needs, etc., and to professionalize a sector that deserves to shine and stand out above all else. It is necessary to be trained and informed about the functioning of the sector in other countries, with which we can formalize strategic alliances and from which we can always learn. These events help us to realize that we all contribute, so that participation is essential to move forward together and in the same direction.