Summit of olive oil producing countries in Imperia, Italy
An experiment of Onaoo succeeded. The idea is to have yearly meetings to discuss the situation between experts. The choice in function of the price looks scary
Maria Carla Squeo
The involvement of Onaoo, the National organization of olive oil tasters, is remarkable. The first edition of the meeting “Tasting and talking on extravirgin”, an authentic summit attended by representative – non institutional – from nine countries: Spain, Italy, Syria, Morocco, France, Portugal, Tunisia, South Africa and California, for the Usa.
The president of Onaoo, Lucio Carli
, expressed great satisfaction and proposed the idea of an annual meeting, every year in a different country, always in the name of Onaoo members. The same satisfaction was shown by Onaoo director, Fabrizio Vignolini
, who ably led the meeting, and who emphasized the need and urgency for a prompt introduction of solutions to avoid an involution of the field in the world market. This is justified by the tendency that has been identified to speculate on prices, independently of the quality of the product.
, the director of Oleoestepa, Álvaro Olavarría Govantes
. expressed concern for the great distribution role in selling 80% of the total production, limiting the selling spaces for producers. The offer – he said – is disorderly and excessive. The weak link is the absence of a concentration of products by producers. Like in Italy, in Spain the industry controls the market, too. In this year production campaign, the problem of prices was more relevant than ever because the group Sos was not able to realize strategic purchases like in the past. Higher prices should be searched for in the future. As in the Italian case, there is a strong and apparently invincible enemy to account for: OGD (organized great distribution).
For South Africa, Gerrie Duvenage
, from Morgenster Estate, remarked that the oil industry is young in his country, only a hundred years old, that has undergone a strong and innovative impulse, over the last twenty years, with 10 thousand hectares of olive groves and one thousand tons of olive oil. Italy is the most representative country among oil producers. We have been making efforts on the quality, and results have been good, so far. It is not easy, because our productive costs are high, and the government does not subsidize our industry. Also, consumers look at the prices, and prefer imported products, of lower quality, but cheaper. This is not fair to our hard work. The financial crisis is hitting hard us too, and it will not be easy to solve the existing problems.
, Aicha president, Mardochée Devico
, said that his family is involved with the entire weaving factory with their business. The export was impossible for a long time, due to customs restrictions, but this obstacle has now been removed and the opportunities are interesting. The export has clearly increased, towards both the USA (+13%), and Europe (+8%). A big encouraging factor is the free exchange deal with the USA. To date, several Europeans invest in the Moroccan olive oil industry, especially Spanish and France, but no Italians. He urged Italians to invest in Morocco, since the productivity potential is eight times higher than the current production, and huge efforts have been made to switch from seed oils to olive oil. The Moroccan oil, especially from Meknes, is considered to be good, and this is the reason of the call for investment to Italians.
On behalf of Siria
, Near East Olive Products president Omar Adi
, declared that his country has been pursuing a new image since 2001, and the goal now is 150 million trees. The government acknowledges the importance of the industry, and even though the water is not abundant, the olive oil production represents a relevant source of income. The taste of Syrian oil is not very compatible with the taste of Europeans and Americans, and it is not easy to change in a short time: many structural needs have to be addressed, such as new presses and a different modus operandi.
Still, the advantage is being the main consumer of the Mediterranean coast, with 600thousand tons per year, 5-6kg per inhabitant. Syria looks ahead hoping to improve the quality of its products.
On behalf of Portugal
, representing Carm (Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira), Filipe de Albuquerque Roboredo Madeira
, said that his firm has been producing oil since 1600, but things have changed over the last 15 years, since the oil was not sold abroad. In 1999 we called Prof. Fontanazza, we bought Italian machineries, but nobody knew how to work with them. After the initial disaster, we obtained good results, and now we grow biological trees, in an extreme weather, and the tree is under such a stress that the few fruits are all good.
, the founder and president of Coppini Arte Olearia, Ernesto Coppini
, said that extra virgin olive oil has been a mission, and challenge for him, and his strength was the direct approach to the product, through tasting. Clients became faithful through tasting. I registered my brand in 1964. I firmly believe in the relationship with consumer and I already proposed the identity card of my oils, which basically anticipated the current laws on the traceability of products. Our press is a museum where the extra virgin develops into word in an emotional way, and becomes a laboratory for meetings.
, the president of Interprofessionnel de l’Olive de France, Olivier Nasles
, said that France is too much in the North for the olive tree, the consumption is low (1.6 per inhabitant) and inhomogeneous, because in the South it is around 12-14 l per capita. This is a market that needs to be supported because promising. The great distribution, which sells most of the olive oil on our market, sells our oil at 5-5.50 euro per liter.
On behalf of Tunisia
, Adel Ben Romdhane
, of Borges Tunisie said that the average yearly production amounts to 190 thousand tons, with oscillations between the years. There are young plantations, and there will be a stabilization, as to production and quality, in the next 3-4 years. The progressive improvement is apparent, especially in the center and North of the country. The presses are 1640, and optimist for the future is justified.
For the United States
, the president of Bariani Olive Oil, Enrico Bariani
, introduced himself as an architect and athlete. Olive oil was discovered in the ‘90s, thanks to the advertising campaign of an Italian brand. In 2000 he became a member of Onaoo and was able to improve the structure of his firm, and the productivity. His firm is not believed to be the bigger, but certainly the more loved, in America. This was helped by his Italian origin, his family, his direct contact and relationship with the consumer, whose questions, no matter what they are about, always receive attention. The United States are a patriotic country, very jealous of their own products. It is hard to make them accept what comes from outside, and this is why it is not easy and profitable to try to enter the American market. Results will eventually come with the time. The choice is determined by the price, and many Italian oils are put under scrutiny, because they are put on the lower shelves of supermarkets. This negatively affects Italian oils.
, vice-president of Onaoo, interestingly talked about the dynamics of the Italian weaving factory, urging the country to go beyond the ideology barriers.
The meeting was closed by Luigi Caricato
, oil expert, director of “Teatro Naturale”, who emphasized that, at world level, there should not be any rivalry between producing countries. Too much competition is in contradiction with an increasing market, both in terms of per capita consumption and geographic extension. All countries have their opportunity, and more work is necessary to increase the per capita consumption, focusing on the good image of olive oil as a healthy product. He urged the producers to unite and find effective solutions, able to satisfy all of them.
Maria Carla Squeo
04 January 2010 Teatro Naturale International n. 1 Year 2
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED