The worldwide network of women in olive oil is going from strength to strength. Pandolea held its third international conference on 15 October 2021, an important moment in building female entrepreneurship in the global olive sector. The IOC gave its institutional patronage to the event. After the welcome address by President Loriana Abbruzzetti, the Executive Director of the IOC, Abdellatif Ghedira, gave a speech (published below) to open the morning session of the conference. Another member of the Executive Secretariat gave a speech in the afternoon session: Catarina Bairrao Balula, Head of the Technical Cooperation and Training Department. An extract of her speech can be found below.
Morning session: opening. The speech of Mr. Abdellatif Ghedira. “Presidents and members of rural women’s associations around the world, Dear Participants. First, I would like to thank Madame Abbruzetti for organizing the 3rd Sustainable Development Conference under the subject of women’s entrepreneurship. I had the honor to meet Loriana for the first time 5 years ago in Rome, she introduced me her non-profit association and I quickly understood her real conviction as regard the important role that women can play for the development of the olive oil sector. Without any hesitation, I supported Pandolea therefore she participated in several meetings of the council of members of our organization as well as the advisory committee in order to convey her noble message on reinforce women’s role in the development of the culture of consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
Several countries have followed this initiative and Loriana did not hesitate to share her knowledge, work and experience and to promote international collaboration. Today we witness the participation and involvement of 11 national and international institutions and networks of rural women from several IOC member countries, which demonstrates the success of pandolea’s action for almost 20 years. Once again, I would like to congratulate Loriana for her continuous efforts to persevere our culture and work for the good of our environment and our health.
As you know, the IOC is an international organisation under the auspices of the United Nations, with 60 years of experience in the development of the olive sector throughout the world. We currently have 18 members including the European Union and we represent about 94% of world production.
One of the objectives of the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives is to promote the consumption of olive oil and Catarina will tell you more about our organization and the Executive Secretariat of which about 50% of the officials are women.
Dear participants, as you know, olive oil is one of the sectors that contributes to sustainable development through its preservation of natural resources. I would also point out that 1 kg of extra virgin olive oil contributes to the sequestration of more than 10 kg of carbon dioxide, which is one of the highest rates of sequestration for tree crops.
On the other hand, the latest studies conducted by the IOC have shown a fall in olive oil consumption in producing countries against an increase in consumption in consumer countries.
It was also observed that olive oil consumption increased during the confinement period. The main reason is the return to home cooking and the significant reduction of consumption in restaurants. Home cooking is based on healthy products and olive oil is at the top of this chain.
Our culture and culinary traditions must be encouraged, and it is this education that the women’s olive oil networks must reinforce for our health and our environment. I count on all of you to strengthen this reflection and work together as said Loriana for our health and that of future generations.
Thank you very much”.
Afternoon session – The Conference counted also with the participation of many other entities and individuals, from many producer and non-producer countries. The IOC was also represented by its head of the technical cooperation and training department, Catarina Bairrao Balula, that talked on female cooperation in the olive sector, and underlined some initiatives that promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all –the goal 8 of the 2030 agenda.
She also stressed that women-lead initiatives have a collaborative spirit, open mind and a woman’s heart in common, and convert creative ideas into business opportunities – female entrepreneurship!
She reminded that role of the IOC as a world forum for discussing policymaking issues and tackling present and future challenges. She also underlined that the IOC is ready to support this worldwide chain for the women in the olive sector, fostering non-profit women-led initiatives in order to provoke change in olive-dependent communities, creating new opportunities for development and pursuing equal treatment for all.