The general brief of the Technical Division is to devise and implement technical cooperation programmes to modernise the olive sector and stimulate the sustainable, environmentally friendly development of olive growing, olive oil production and table olive processing in the member countries. Currently, it draws on the expertise of a Chemistry & Standards Setting Unit, an Environmental Department and a Training/Technical Assistance Department operating under the orders of the Division Deputy Director.
OLIVE OIL CHEMISTRY AND STANDARDISATION
This is a crucial area of IOC work broadly spanning the constant development or updating of chemical and sensory testing methods for olive oils and table olives for inclusion in the IOC trade standards and the harmonisation of international standards or regulations. The Division also runs a prestigious recognition scheme for olive oil chemical and sensory testing laboratories and organises the IOC Mario Solinas Quality Award, an annual international award for excellence in the production of extra virgin olive oil.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
R & D work is mainly channelled through the development and implementation of technical projects, often in partnership with the Common Fund for Commodities, designed to transfer technology.
Training activities include the organisation of international courses, national seminars and workshops, inhouse training opportunities at top European research centres, scholarships for post-graduate studies and introductory, intermediate and advanced courses on the organoleptic assessment of olive oil.
On request, the Technical Division arranges field trips to visit olive orchards and processing facilities and research centres for groups from the member countries. It also arranges for experts to visit any member countries requiring consultancy services to deal with specific problems.
The Division also publishes the information generated by its activities in addition to handbooks and CDs on subjects like production techniques in olive growing or olive nursery production.