Interview with Rosa Gallardo, president of the OOWC Scientific Committee

Rosa Gallardo

When will the Olive Oil World Congress take place and where will it be held?
The Olive Oil World Congress (OOWC) is an international project created by Agrifood Comunicación, in collaboration with the entire sector, which will take place on June 26, 27 and 28, 2024 in the Auditorium of the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid. For this first edition we have thought of Spain as the venue, since our country, as an international leader in the sector, has to lead any global initiative that puts in value this product to the professionals who compose it.
In addition, Spain is an excellent choice to host this meeting, due to its Mediterranean tradition and its link with this product, as well as its wide cultural and gastronomic offer. However, the venue will change for each edition.

How and why did it come about? What are its objectives?
Spain is a world leader in surface area, production and foreign trade thanks to our country's olive-growing tradition and a technologically advanced and professional industry capable of obtaining high quality oils. In addition, the sector also has a great social, environmental and territorial impact. Hence our interest in highlighting not only the benefits of this product, but also its professionals.
Under the slogan 'Taste it, Enjoy, It's Olive Oil', the OOWC aims to position itself as a recognized brand under which international operators, from both consumer and producer countries, can work towards the common goal of enhancing the value of olive groves and olive oil, so that this product is increasingly recognized worldwide and more valued in international society for its qualities.

You are the president of the OOWC Scientific Committee, which is in charge of developing the program. What will be the main topics to be addressed during the OOWC?
The Scientific Committee, which includes scientists from universities and research centers from more than 10 different countries such as Greece, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, Spain, Albania and Portugal, is developing an ambitious program.
The event aims to bring together professionals from around the world to promote the transfer of knowledge about this product in all links of the production chain, we will study success stories and marketing and sales tools that help the sector to improve its commercial efficiency, and we will address in depth the production, research and marketing of olive oil. Sustainability will also be a key topic at the congress, without forgetting the profitability of farms, the health benefits of olive oil and marketing in international markets.

Under the slogan 'On the Road to OOWC 2024' different actions are being carried out to publicize this meeting. What are the activities carried out so far? What kind of audience are they targeting?
The congress organizers are carrying out an extensive program of promotional activities aimed at creating the Olive Oil World Congress brand. The objective of these activities is to generate a large community of professionals with all those who love this product. Each and every one of the activities organized under the framework of 'On the Road to OOWC 2024' are aimed at companies and associations of the olive grove and olive oil sector, national and international, companies and associations of the distribution and catering sectors, auxiliary industry, public and private research centers and researchers and students, as well as public administrations.
The first of the activities took place on February 27 with the celebration of the conference 'Olive today', which examined the situation of the sector in the producing countries of the Mediterranean area, from production to the perception of consumers, through the industry, trying to glimpse the future of this sector so important for all olive oil producing countries.

In addition, during the month of March, the Olive Oil World Congress was presented in Rome to the entire Italian production chain and to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, while in April the OOWC was presented to the diplomatic corps of numerous producing and consuming countries accredited in Spain. These meetings served to highlight the purposes of this initiative as a collaborative tool between countries. We have also recently presented the congress to the Portuguese olive oil sector, thanks to the conference entitled 'The olive oil sector, technological solutions for its future', aimed at operators in Portugal.
We have also organized several technical conferences on topics of interest to professionals, including a conference on Protected Designations of Origin and Protected Geographical Indications, and another conference on the use of olive oil in the food industry.
On the other hand, and to promote the internationalization of the congress, an agreement has been signed with the CIHEAM Zaragoza, an international reference in agri-food research in the Mediterranean, which will increase the capacity for international dissemination in a strategic region for the production and consumption of olive oil as is the Mediterranean.