Quality and sustainability: the future of the olive grove and olive oil sector

The Olive Oil World Congress (OOWC) continues with the promotional activities in the framework 'On the Road to the OOWC 2024' to publicize the initiative and to value the product and everything that surrounds olive oil.

The next stop on its route took place in Benalúa de las Villas (Granada), with the collaboration of the SCA San Sebastián de Benalúa de las Villas and Agrocolor, where the OOWC brought together operators in the olive grove and olive oil sector to analyze the challenge of quality and sustainability. Information and training in this regard is of particular importance for the sector, which has to work together to find solutions to the challenges of the future. The event was a great success in terms of participation, with more than 130 attendees.

The welcome and inauguration has been carried out by great experts of the sector of the olive grove and olive oil as Fulgencio Torres, president of Agroalimentary Cooperatives of Granada; Miguel Rodríguez, president of Agrocolor; and Manuel Alías, general secretary of Agrarian Funds and Rural Development of the Council of Agriculture, Cattle, Fishing and Rural Development of the Meeting of Andalusia.

During his speech, Torres insisted on the importance of "staying the course and continue working as we have done so far, advancing and improving in areas such as marketing, research and innovation; facing challenges such as the continuous improvement of product quality, and sustainability, which is one of our most immediate and major challenges.

For the president of the Federation, in the current context, which he described as "complicated" for the oil sector, "it is clear that we must continue to adapt in order to move forward". However, he pointed out, "we have the knowledge, experience and the necessary drive, professionalized cooperatives, a powerful structure and many men and women who strive every day to do their job well".

Ricardo Migueláñez, coordinator of the OOWC, then made the presentation of the congress to those attending the conference, stressing the contribution that this initiative offers to the sector, which more than ever needs to unite all the operators at an international level to work together with the aim of helping to solve the problems that exist and to take better advantage of the opportunities that are generated.

Eva María Murgado, professor of Marketing and Market Research at the University of Jaén, was in charge of the presentation entitled "The commitment to sustainability in the olive oil sector".

Eduardo Valverde, manager of the SCA San Sebastián de Benalúa de las Villas, has been in charge of putting the focus on the "Differentiation of quality EVOO through PDO", has assured that "the model and commitment of the SCA Benalúa is based on the freedom of its partners and the valorization of its products through its brands, such as 'Amarga y Pica'. In this sense, we have to ensure that this label is used by all and reaches more and more consumers to value the quality of our product, which must be our hallmark.

In addition, experts of the sector, such as Joaquín Olivares, regional delegate of Agrocolor, also participated in the conference.

To finish, a round table has been carried out that has been moderated by Gustavo Ródenas, director of Agrifood Cooperatives of Granada; and in which have participated Felipe Medina, general secretary of ASEDAS; Pedro Luis Lázaro, president of the Consumers Union of Andalusia; and Primitivo Fernández, director of ANIERAC.

The speakers agreed on the importance of continuing to work together, from the farmer to the consumer, through the rest of the links in the chain, to meet the challenges posed by the future for the olive oil sector.

Likewise, the members of the table have highlighted the need to educate and train consumers to value a healthy and quality product such as olive oil.

After the day, a visit to the facilities of the Cooperative of Benalúa de las Villas has been carried out.

Under the slogan ''Taste it, enjoy, It's olive oil', the congress has for its organization with AgroBank, the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha through the brand Campo y Alma and the 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 and Voz Do Campo, Portuguese newspapers specialized in the agricultural sector, and Oleo in Spain, are the OOWC Media Partners.

Anyone interested in taking part in the congress can obtain information from the OOWC Technical Secretariat by calling 91 721 79 29 or sending an email to info@oliveoilwc.com.