Madrid – The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the International Olive Council (IOC) aims to create synergies between these two intergovernmental organisations. Areas of joint action cover tasting panels, physico-chemical testing and residues, action against Xylella fastidiosa, germplasm management, capacity building for graduate and specialised courses, the celebration of World Olive Day in the Mediterranean and the IOC Observatory.
The two delegations – respectively represented by Placido Plaza, the interim Secretary General of CIHEAM, accompanied by the Directors of the CIHEAM Agronomic Institutes of Bari, Saragossa and Chania, and by the two Deputy Executive Directors of the IOC, Jaime Lillo and Mustafa Sepetçi – met at the headquarters of the IOC in Madrid to review and then determine joint actions to be taken over the next few months. Collaboration principally concerns procedures for the recognition of testing laboratories and IOC training on the organoleptic assessment test using CIHEAM centres, with a view to strengthening the security network and increasing the level of quality control applied to extra virgin olive oil. The delegations also discussed the organisation of an international symposium to provide an update on ongoing action to combat the endemic phenomenon of Xylella fastidiosa; joint activities for the characterisation of the germplasm of the olive tree varieties found in the Mediterranean basin and beyond; the organisation of training and specialisation courses; and the determination of a joint road map for collaboration on World Olive Day celebrations, held every year on 26 November. Lastly, they considered the use of the IOC Observatory for information sharing and dissemination. The delegations both agreed to meet again soon to update their agenda and follow up on their commitments.