Madrid – We celebrated World Olive Day at IOC headquarters in the presence of the Agricultural Ministers for Spain, Luis Planas, for Tunisia, Samir Taieb, and for Egypt, Ezz El Din Abu Steit, as well as a number of authorities and accredited diplomatic bodies. I welcome you here today to celebrate the IOC’s commitment to the sector, as we celebrate alongside representatives from five continents. Since its creation in 1959, the International Olive Council has regulated the olive-growing sector and worked towards defining and elaborating norms and standards of quality in the international trade of olive oils and table olives. We work for the good of the sector at all stages of the production chain, from the first farmer to the final consumer.
Today, Mr Ghedira continued, we move onto a new phase in our development that brings us to answer the question so often brought to us: why the IOC? Aside from its role of safeguarding quality and standards, the IOC is above all a hotbed of over a thousand specialists and experts in the field of olive-growing. Researchers, engineers, economists, chemists, tasters, nutritionists, statisticians… all engage with the science as one through the forum that is the IOC, in the planned meetings and the over 150 laboratories officially recognised by us around the world.
For this reason, the IOC constitutes a unique scientific forum for the internationally renowned olive-growing sector. It interacts with a range of institutions, both in the private sector, through the Advisory Committee on Olive Oils and Table Olives, putting us at the heart of the day-to-day realities of olive-growing; and in the regional and international organisations dedicated to implementing activities for mutual interest and benefit.
According to official statistics, world production of olive oil has increased by half in 20 years, with a tipping point occurring over the past 10 years and a demand that continues to drive supply. Consumption has doubled in new countries, to the detriment of demand in traditional consumer countries.
This trend just goes to show the lasting interest this noble product arouses, not only for the dietary benefits for the consumer, but also for the socio-economic and environmental benefits for the producer.
This World Olive Day, continued Mr Ghedira, we renew our call for producers to keep using good practices all along the production chain in order to offer consumers the best of this nectar, and for consumers to continue to demand high quality oil for their health and for a product that can help in the fight against climate change for generations to come.
Mr Ghedira concluded by renewing our call for intergovernmental, international and regional organisations to work with us in order to foster sustainable development, to ensure fair pay for small farmers in difficult areas, to conserve natural resources and to promote a healthy and balanced diet.