The 20% of the olive groves Spanish, at risk of disappearing

In the campaign 2018-2019 have occurred in the world at 3.20 million tons of olive oil, of which 1,78 million tonnes come out of Spain. That is to say, that nea

The 20% of the olive groves Spanish, at risk of disappearing

In the campaign 2018-2019 have occurred in the world at 3.20 million tons of olive oil, of which 1,78 million tonnes come out of Spain. That is to say, that nearly 55% of the oil is English, despite the fact that there are 64 countries cultivating olives in 11,65 million hectares of olive grove. However, the Spanish leadership was overthrown by the fragility that presented a 20% of its olive groves: small farms that grow in hill plots or in terrain stony, making it impossible to mechanization for the harvest of the fruit and add to the product.

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“it Is of olive trees, with autochthonous varieties adapted to your climate and soil that give us profiles organoleptic different and allow us to have oils unique that would be lost if we abandon these plots, something that is already happening in some 130,000 hectares in Andalucia and Extremadura”, explains Angela Sanchez of the Peace, responsible for the Project's Sustainability Carbonell, one of the brands that are under the umbrella of Deoleo, the multinational Spanish power is a world leader in the marketing of olive oil.

Sanchez de Paz and Juan Carrasco are on the front of a project created by Carbonell to reverse this trend and avoid losing that 20% of olive grove with special features. “We want to bring an extra value to a production that is special certificándola through Intertek, a company that is a leader in the audit quality process, so that they can create oils are unique and of high quality with higher prices. For the moment, there is a total of 96,000 families adhered to this protocol and we are auditing 27 mills more so that they can join the project, that would amount to some 26,000 families more,” says the agricultural engineer during a visit to several of these farms unique located in the region of the Subbética cordobesa, when it is still picking up the new harvest that, according to forecasts, will have a volume less than the previous campaign.

One of the companies that form part of the program is to oil Mills of the Subbetica, with mills in Carcabuey and Priego de Córdoba, who in the campaign 2018-2019 molturó 113 million kilos of olives, a record in its history, and only in 2019 has obtained 153 national and international awards, among them the first in contests as prestigious as the Evo World Ranking and the Worlds Best Olive Oils.

however, despite the increase in production and the drop in prices, the consumption is declining at the global level, because the eating habits have changed and people are cooking less. In Spain, one of the main consumers of olive oil, has also declined in general; in spite of the rise in sales of extra virgin (olive oil). In Germany, France, united States, Italy, and Spain the prices have come down a -8,8%, compared to a revitalization of the market +2,2%.

“Many of the farms of the Subbética, about 70%, have less than five hectares, which hinders their exploitation because it is not cost-effective to have the machinery for a parcel so small, so from the co-op we're encouraging the shared use of machinery”, explains José Luis Aguilera in The Vines, an olive grove of 20 hectares in the Goat, where he grows varieties of hojiblanco and picual.

A man walks to olive groves on the slope in the Subbética cordobesa, in Carcabuey. paco bridges

“they used to say: ‘that which does not serve, for the field’, but that has changed. The olive grove is professionalizing,” says Aguilera, who also manages farms to third parties and, in total, it occupies 90 hectares of olive grove. Aguilera is part of the project sustainability-driven Deoleo and its entire production is organic. “When you switch from the conventional crop to the ecological, in the first crop falls a little bit the production, but after the exceeds. Organic gardening creates a live, in which everything returns to its origin. The insects eat each other and there is a balance that allows the earth to oxigene " and favors the growth of the plant,” says the olive-studded, while alert to the sight of a rabbit, one of the animals that have returned to these fields due to the change of strategy.

Deoleo, which in addition to Carbonell markets Teachers of Hojiblanca, Koipe, and the Italian brands Bertolli and Carapelli, has developed a decalogue to improve the production of these 500,000 hectares of traditional olive grove is not machinable in Spain, spread among some 200,000 farms, living 300,000 families in the communities of Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, Catalonia and Aragon.

“These farms, which account for 20% of the olive groves of our country, are in danger of disappearing in the next 10 years if we do not reverse the trend, so that we would lose not only the leadership in the world market of olive oil; but also many indigenous varieties, and with them part of our biodiversity,” says Sanchez of Peace. The production costs per kilogram of olive oil range from 0,80 euros of holdings of high-density machined to 2,40 or € 3 on-farm traditional non-mechanised. A price that places them under the threshold of profitability.

“In Carbonell we have more than 150 years by exporting a unique product and we are committed to their development and sustainability; that's why since June this year, 100% of the extra virgin oils of Carbonell are from sustainable production certified,” says Francisco Rionda, director of Marketing and Innovation of Deoleo.

Núria Yáñez, technical director of oil Mills of the Subbetica, works since the project was created to raise awareness among farmers of the benefits of a certified product that can reach a market more select, willing to pay for those oils unique. “We insist that they make crops more early, because if the olives are overripe appear defects in wine tasting. The ideal is that between the collection and the grinding does not elapse more than a day, we also monitor the temperature throughout the process, which can not exceed 22 degrees”, says Yanez.

“Deoleo has developed a protocol for sustainability, supported by techniques and tools that ensure your success and a team of experts that is available to implement this model in all the mills and with all the farmers that are really looking for the quality and care about the future of the olive tree”, concludes Paula Baroque Lopes, director of Quality and Global Development of Deoleo.

Updated Date: 13 January 2020, 09:00

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