The Olive Oil World Congress (OOWC) organises at FAO headquarters (Rome), a seminar called "International Olive Tree Day FAO: A look into the future", on the 24th of November, in which experts from the olive grove as well as from the olive oil sector has put into value the importance of this crop for all the producer and consumer countries, to celebrarte the International Olive Tree Day, on November 26.
Speaking in words of Máximo Torero, Chief Economist of FAO and Assistant Director of UN Economic and Social Development Department for Agriculture and Feeding at Rome, "olive tree crop has a crucial relevance at th world level, due to its versatility and both economic and cultural value it contributes with. It´s an important economic activity in many countries that has a significant social impact, since it employs many people and usually involves small producers".
With this day, the Olive Oil World Congress (OOWC), that organises its first edition in Madrid from 26 to 28 June, reaffirms its commitment with both the olive grove and oil sector. Moreover, due to the difficult situation the sector is facing, it´s important to remind the value of this product as an engine for economic development in several world regions, as well as its role in biodiversity, the environment and, of course, health.
The seminar has started with the welcome and inauguration by Juan Prieto, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain to the FAO and Manuel Barange, Assistant Director-General and Director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division. According to Berange, "global olive oil market reached a value of 14.2 billion euros. Being Spain the main world producer, with a 25% of the total amount, followed by Italy, Morocco and Tunisia".
"However, the Mediterranean olive industry is facing multiple challenges, like prices volatility, other vegetal oils competence or fraudulent labelling. But the main one, with no doubts, is climate change, since it is foreseen that with a 1,5ºC increment of temperatures, global production could fall in a 20%".
Following, Di Yang; vegetable oil expert in FAO's Markets and Trade Division, intervened to talk about "Olive oil in the world: an economically reliable sector?"
The next intervention has been carried out by Mladen Todorovic, from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Bari), who has shown to public the "Sustainable solutions for olive cultivation: efficient use of water in a climate change context".
During the seminar, the OOWC has been also presented to the members of FAO and the assistants. A collaborative project that offers to the sector the possibility of bringing all international operators together to work with the aim of helping to solve the actual problems and take advantage of the opportunities generated.
Antonio Escribano, Professor of Sports Nutrition, Catholic University of Murcia, Spain, and Specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition, has talked about "Olive oil and health, an unbreakable pair". According to Escribano, “olive oil can be considered the best fat of our planet, and its benefitial effects for health are fully demonstrated, thanks to its phenolic compounds and phytosterols that reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine, in addition to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects; this wonderful product prevents cardiovascular diseases or metabolic diseases, among others".
It´s worth also highlighting the interesting labor and contributions of women in the sector. Proof of that is that the seminar was closed with a roundtable, analysing the present and future of the global olive oil sector, with the participation Nevena Alexandrova, Agricultural Extension Officer, FAO Office of Innovation; Wafaa El Khoury, Head of Service for ECA and NENA, FAO Investment Centre; and Khaled El Taweel, Coordinator of the UN Food Systems Coordination Centre, moderated by Juan Prieto, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain to the FAO.
To finish the meeting, the assistants enjoyed a cocktail in which they could taste different products like Spanish ham from the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Jabugo.
Under the slogan 'Taste it, enjoy, It's olive oil', the OOWC organization counts with the participation of AgroBank, Junta de Castilla-La Mancha through its brand 'Campo y Alma' and Junta de Andalucía through its brand 'Gusto del Sur' as Platinum sponsors; Grupo Interóleo, Balam Agriculture and Agrocolor, as Gold sponsors; and the company Kubota as Silver sponsor. Agrotec, Voz do Campo, Portuguese journals specialised in agriculture sector, Grupo Joly and Oleo in Spain, are the OOWC Media Partners.