World Olive Day
The IOC celebrated World Olive Day on 24 November with a ceremony attended by the delegations of the member countries, representatives of the sector, authorities and members of the diplomatic corps. At the event, the Executive Director read out a joint Declaration of all IOC member countries joining in the celebration of World Olive Day. Under its call to “Choose olives to protect our planet and our health!” this declaration highlights the role of olive growing in the sustainable economic and social development of a number of countries, and as part of the solution in combating global warming.
On behalf of the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, the Secretary General for Food and Agriculture, Mr Carlos Cabanas, commended the contributions of the IOC and its member countries to making olive oil recognized as a reference for food and gastronomic quality worldwide.
The ceremony also included a tribute to Professor Shimon Lavee, who twice held office as IOC Chairperson, introduced drip irrigation to olive growing, and whose tireless research contributed to the work of the Council and to the development of the olive sector as a whole. In return, the Head of the Israeli Delegation read out a letter of thanks on behalf of Professor Lavee’s widow, alongside a moving slideshow of his life.
A presentation was given of the new edition of “The international olive oil production sector” by Juan Vilar and Rafael Cárdenas (edition not yet available in English) – with a prologue by the IOC Executive Director – and copies were given to every participant.
Lastly, the role of olive growing in the protection of the environment was highlighted through the projection of a short film entitled “Olive oil, the liquid gold helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. This film had been presented by the IOC on 16 November at the International Conference on Climate Change (COP22), held in Marrakech.
In order to set up an annual celebration of World Olive Day across all member countries, through simultaneous events, the Executive Secretariat published a call for proposals for grants to co-finance celebrations of World Olive Day (26 November) in IOC member countries.
Of the 16 proposals received, the Evaluation Committee awarded grants to the following initiatives:
Algeria: Celebration of World Olive Day 2016, inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture, including a visit to an exhibition in Jijel, a demonstration of the operation of a crushing unit and a tasting of the oil produced, followed by olive tree planting and a press conference.
Spain: Workshop for foreign students at the University of Jaén including a talk on olive oil, with a tasting session and cooking demonstrations. (University of Jaén)
Greece: Press conference, sensory analysis session and seminar on the health benefits of olive oil, organoleptic quality standards, and quality management. (Kalamata Olive Oil Taste Laboratory)
Italy: Development of the olive oil quality system (U.n.a.pr.ol): conference on the economic, environmental and legal aspects of appellation of origin procedures.
Morocco: 5th edition of the International Forum on Olive Oil (Agro-Pôle Olivier (ENA), Meknès): conference highlighting the value of the olive tree biomass: technological innovation and the considerations of a new and renewable energy source.
Tunisia: Celebration of World Olive Day focusing on the extension of the Tunisian olive growing area to ensure the sustainability of the olive sector (ONH): meeting of the Tunisian sector; planting of 1000 olive feet in nurseries; drawing and photography competition on the subject of olive trees; and the production of a documentary on the history of olive growing in Tunisia.
Portugal: The organisation of an information session (Casa do Azeite) to present the latest statistics, consumption trends and the health benefits of olive oil, among others, together with an olive oil tasting session.
Turkey: Visit of an old oil mill, harvest of monumental trees and oil extraction using a press kept at the Museum of Olive Oil; and a conference on the health benefits of olive products, their place in Turkish gastronomy and their historical and economic value for the region and the country – Urla (UZZK).