The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Carmen Crespo, and the president of Fundación Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, Rafael Sánchez de Puerta, have signed today in Madrid the agreement for the creation of the Reference Center for the Quality of Olive Oil, (Centro de Referencia de la Calidad del Aceite de Oliva) which is expected to give an important boost to research in this area. As Crespo has pointed out, this rubric serves to "seal the union and to increase the collaboration that we have maintained for years" these two entities in favor of the olive sector.
The facilities will be located in the scientific and technological 'Geolit' park of Mengíbar, that is why its starting up will contribute to consolidate the province of Jaén as the international epicenter of the sector of the olive oil. In addition, this center will be an incentive for the protection and improvement of the quality of olive oil and olives; it will support the inspections carried out by the Andalusian Government to control the commercial quality of the oils; and it will have an impact on the fight against fraud in the olive oil sector. The investment mobilized by the Ministry of Agriculture for this initiative amounts to 7.3 million euros.
During its intervention, Carmen Crespo has commented that Andalusia is at the moment "a world reference in olive oil" but it must continue betting for "exploring new routes to continue maintaining that leadership and to impel the commercialization and technification of the olive sector". Precisely, the new center will be of help to advance in these areas and, as the counselor has pointed out, it will also allow that "the quality of our oils is guaranteed by a laboratory of reference".
For Crespo, it is important to be clear that "we all have to row in the same direction" in a year characterized by "a very low capacity" and with "difficulties due to high production costs"; and recalled that, as reported yesterday by President Juanma Moreno himself, the Board is working on the start of the first Andalusian Strategy for the Olive Sector 2023-2027 "to design the olive grove and olive oil for the future". "We are going to do this hand in hand with the sector, in public-private collaboration, to decide together where we are going," stressed the counselor, noting that the Andalusian Government is committed to "delve into the organic sector and the circular economy," as well as the joint work of small farmers, among other areas, to boost the competitiveness of the olive grove of Andalusia.
Among others, the signing was also attended by the manager of the Foundation Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, Iñaki Benito; the delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in Madrid, Vicente Azpitarte; the director general of Industries, Innovation and Agrifood Chain, Cristina de Toro; the managing director of the Agency for Agricultural and Fisheries Management of Andalusia (Agapa), José Carlos Álvarez; and the secretary general of the latter entity, Daniel Quesada.