The President of the Consortium of the Olive Fair, Mayor of Montoro and President of AEMO (Spanish Association of Municipalities of Olivo), Ana María Romero Obrero, in an interview for ecomercioagrario.com has answered several questions about the Olive Fair, which will be held between May 16 and 19 in the town of Cordoba, the fair of “the most emblematic product, the backbone of the Andalusian and Cordoban agri-food sector”.
ECO: How do you see the expectations of this year? What differences do we find this year with respect to past editions?
Ana Maria: This edition will have a multidisciplinary character in terms of the target audience to which it is addressed. In its beginnings it began as an exhibition of machinery, but with the passage of the editions it has been enriching content and treasuring the loyalty of different groups.
The Olive Fair is still an unmissable event for entrepreneurs as manufacturers of machinery for cultivation and mills to present their novelties, but also have room for other market players, with great participation and interest in the technical conferences where they are invited to participate in a forum for reflection and sharing ideas about the olive sector. In addition, the Fair is a compelling event for lovers of EVOO and for the general public that as a consumer can better understand the sector and its different nuances.
On the other hand, there will be a notable international presence through Extenda (Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion), which will carry out an important commercial mission that will go to companies in the sector of the auxiliary olive industry. The main objective will be to show the Andalusian olive supply and capture business opportunities with importers, representatives, distributors, or manufacturers from countries such as Algeria, Peru, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Turkey and Tunisia. Likewise, the presence of exhibitors that already in the previous edition came from Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey will be promoted.
In the last edition of the fair, the volume of business carried out by the exhibitors reached approximately 7 million euros, what are your forecasts for this year?
The expectations are positive, with more international participation than in previous editions thanks to the support of Extenda from the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge of the Junta de Andalucía, public company of the Junta de Andalucía responsible for establishing business relations with European countries and as a novelty this year: Morocco, Chile, Algeria and Peru, so the volume of business will be increased compared to other years thanks to these business operations. The sector is on the rise.
In addition, the diversification of the companies participating in the Fair will also be taken into account, and it will be seen in the offer of extra virgin oils, with excellence as a flag and differentiating the juices by varieties, organoleptic characteristics, nuances, etc. Also organic oils will open the range of our offer to a more demanding public and in this we must delve, especially olive-growing villages that are more adapted to it.
With the celebration of this new edition of the Fair, what message do you want to transmit in edition to the population and the olive sector in general?
Do not miss an event of these characteristics, located in a heritage town and olive grove as Montoro, meeting point and headquarters of the entire olive sector. The objective in Córdoba is clear: bet in an excellent, dynamic and professional way to identify ourselves as a province of Quality Patrimony. And the most emblematic product, the backbone of the Andalusian and Cordoban agri-food sector, is olive oil. It is a priority to promote collaboration between the denominations of origin in Cordoba and not competition, each defending their uniqueness; advance in production, quality and marketing; promote internationalization through joint collaborative projects, as well as strengthen innovation in obtaining new products, ways of producing, marketing and marketing.
Therefore, we value the fruit of the olive tree from where we produce it, make it have a decent and sufficient price so that its cultivation has continuity, and all this goes through a necessary strategy: we produce quality, we bet for the extra virgin, which is the maximum category, the one that truly treasures healthy and gastronomic values, let us convince ourselves that it is a fruit juice and the rich and healthy juices have always been extracted by squeezing healthy fruits, properly grinding them, that the culture of grinding, the century XXI, the one that treats the olive as what it is … a fresh fruit.
What does oil mean for the province?
Being located in a temporary ratio of two years, the province of Córdoba occupies second place the production of olive oil worldwide during the year of 2017. This supposes a positive commercial balance that reaches sales for a value of 587 million euros ( 25.12% more than in 2016), which represents 22.9% of the total product exported from our total country according to data registered by the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Córdoba.
The main countries to which the production of Cordovan oil is destined are Italy, the United States, Portugal, France, India, China, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, although it is also worth noting the recent relations with countries such as Turkey, Tunisia or Morocco; with which, it can be said that the olive oil produced in our province transcends borders in an excellent way.
These data reaffirm the increase in business volume that occurs during the four days of the Fair and that we have been watching strongly since the previous edition. There is a great international presence and it shows. The interest in the liquid gold of our land marks the world difference and has reactivated the engine of the national economy.
What do you think is the key so that the commercialization of the olive oil maintains a level to the rise?
We are in a time where cost optimization is a priority to make a competitive sector and in this sense mechanization will be vital in the coming years. You have to produce quality and do it rationally and environmentally sustainable. We are now in the era of obtaining extra virgin oils of the highest quality, the world consumer demands it and the producer and processor must serve it.
It should also be noted that there is an increase in the volume of international business and exports and we have been observing with strength how we beat record. There is a great international presence and it shows. The interest in the liquid gold of our land marks the world difference and has reactivated the engine of the national economy.
With what sponsors have you counted?
The Olive Fair has a notorious endorsement throughout its history by the Junta de Andalucía through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge; It also has the support of the Diputación de Córdoba, the Spanish Association of Municipalities of Olivo, the Caja Rural de Jaén financial entity, the Olivarero Community Heritage Foundation, the Sierra Morena Development Group, the D.O. Montoro-Adamuz and of all those who in different ways mobilize economic initiatives of social interest, promote contacts and commercial exchanges and bring supply and demand closer to the most important agricultural sector, the olive tree.
Although it has gained in the diffusion of olive oil, with terms such as EVOO present in advertisements, tastings and recipes, have consumers and professionals reached adequate knowledge of this food?
We at AEMO believe that the future lies in the production of quality oil, so our actions are aimed at promoting and disseminating the most sustainable production methods, but always linked to excellence. The future also goes through consumer education and actions aimed at training it in the culture of extra virginity.
What are the main concerns of the sector and how do you think they should end?
One of the main concerns is the drop in oil prices, which could lead to the devaluation of the product. In the first place, it is a matter of confidence of the sector itself in its product. If the world consumer has shown us that he is willing to pay a decent price for olive oil, that is not the sector that sells below costs, we have to believe it and we have to make good use of liquid gold.
That said, it is market law that when the productions are greater the balance between supply and demand tends to lower the price of any good, and before this the entire sector, within the legal framework, should articulate mechanisms of self-regulation between campaigns. The olive tree is by definition by definition and therefore we should establish mechanisms so that we compensate the short campaigns with the surpluses of the most productive campaigns. In this sense, we are going to dedicate the technical days of the Olive Fair to reflect on the rationalization of costs and self-regulation of the harvest where the future and stable profitability of the Spanish olive sector is and we will discuss that.
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