Olive oil production on the brink

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 10-12-2019 17:34:00 · 2 Comments

Olive harvesting and olive oil production in Portugal are in danger of stopping and the olive sector may collapse in the Alentejo due to the lack of capacity of the region's factories to store pomace from the mills.

Probably no later than next week, there will be a collapse in the sector, because olive picking and olive oil production will have to stop since there is no room to put the olive pomace produced by the mills in the Alentejo, said Aníbal Martins, member of the board of directors of CONFAGRI - the National Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives and Agricultural Credit of Portugal.

According to the director, the three units in the Alentejo that process olive pomace from the region's mills have practically exhausted their storage capacity for that by-product resulting from oil production.

Due to the increase in olive production and the climatic conditions (lack of rain) favourable to the rapid harvesting of olives, olives have arrived in larger quantities and more quickly at the mills and an unusual volume of olive pomace to be processed in the three units, he explained.

Aníbal Martins, who is also president of FENAZEITES - Federação Nacional das Cooperativas Agrícolas de Olivicultores and manager of the União de Cooperativas Agrícolas do Sul (UCASUL), the owner of the Alvito unit, warned that if the sector stops, it could cause incalculable damage to farmers and companies linked to the sector.

On the other hand, he said that there could be real environmental chaos in the absence of a place to produce olive pomace, which could reach 600,000 tonnes in the current olive-growing campaign.

According to Aníbal Martins, the UCASUL unit receives 5,000 tonnes of olive pomace, but only can transform 1,000 tonnes per day, that is, it accumulates four tonnes every day and cannot currently store more.

Aníbal Martins said that the cooperative olive sector, through CONFAGRI, FENAZEITES and UCASUL, has been raising awareness of the responsible entities, including the Ministry of Agriculture, for the problem and the possibility of the serious situation of the collapse of the olive sector in Alentejo.

CONFAGRI and FENAZEITES will soon meet with the Minister of Agriculture to analyse the problem and seek a solution, he said, noting that the meeting is agreed, but not yet scheduled.

Aníbal Martins said that a new bagasse processing unit is needed or to expand the capacity of the three existing units in the Alentejo to solve the problem.

The municipal master plans (PDM) only allow the installation of this type of units near urban agglomerations, but here the problem, which is in the process of being solved, is that the units have a bad image from the environmental point of view, because, although all are working within the law, the visual aspect is very negative.


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By Sunardi from Other on 20-11-2020 03:55

I don’t think that we are dealing here with just the “visual impacts” of the pomace storage but also with the more detrimental environmental effect s of all cycle of olive oil processing due to poor waste management practices! Portugal built with EU monies the Alqueva complex and, unfortunately, agreed to, after refining, having most of olive oil, a valuable product, transferred to Spain and Italy where it becomes a “Product of Spain” or a “Product of Italy”! I suggest a simple solution, oblidge the producers to export the whole thing, the olive oil and the pomace, the waste! If they pocket the added value why shouldn’t they also be responsible for the waste/pomace sound management. Given the Portuguese incapacity to more effectively market our excellent olive oil let the same foreign “explorers” and their “national accomplices” be fully accountable also for the waste! Why should the local producers or their associations be the parties wholly accountable for poor olive oil/pomace poor management practices and its environmental liabilities?

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 11-12-2019 08:30
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