Europe growers face two major challenges: first, to have to respect strict environmental legislation in the EU, but at the same time, competition posed by growers elsewhere requires them to keep prices low.
Now growers will help the project INASOOP (approach to sustainable production of olive oil and table olives), funded by the EU. The partners in this project take three years working on the drafting of guidelines to assist growers to operate in a more environmentally friendly way and increase their competitiveness.
The EU is the world's largest producer of olive oiland table olives, Spain, Italy and Greece alone account for 80% of world production of olive oil. With the taste of oil and its health benefits, it is expected that global consumption of these products increases by between 3.5% and 4% a year.
However, while olives are beneficial to health, production is often extremely harmful to the environment. The olive oil industry produces about ten million tons of waste per year, and industry of table olives one million tonnes. Waste and runoff causing industrial processes often end up relating to the environment, so that pollute the soil and cause various problems.
Most of the 12,000 mills in the EU are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are too complicated to comply with EU environmental legislation and compete with other growers at a time.
INASOOP project was led by the Technology Transfer Center Bremerhaven and gathered mills associations, producers and research institutes. The project partners discussed the situation of different countries involved in the project. There are currently collaborating to develop an Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). From these guidelines, the partners are drafting an instruction that will assist producers to implement the standards as simple as possible. Address issues such as how to reduce energy and water, introduction of new technologies for waste disposal and how to improve the conditions of production.
Besides helping growers comply with environmental regulations, the guidelines will help improve the image of the product and thus increase their value and competitiveness of European industry growers.
"All Europeans food producers not only improve production conditions to increase competitiveness," said Werner Mlodzianowski of Technology Transfer Center Bremerhaven. "To highlight over cheaper products from outside Europe, most of all we must develop products with taste and quality of convincing."