Strengthening the tools for the organization and concentration of the agricultural supply through the development of Producer Organizations is one of the strategies proposed by the EU to contrast the asymmetry in the bargaining power within the food chain and to strengthen its competitiveness.
On 28 January 2015, the Cooperative oil mill of Canino, under DD no. G0058 adopted by the Lazio Region, obtained the recognition of Producer Organization (PO) in the olive sector in compliance with EU Regulation no. 1308/2013 and Ministerial Decree no. 8684 of 11 November 2014. The democratic participation of producers in the cooperative management, the reliability and adequate processing machinery and facilities, the constant attention paid to supply concentration and the commitment to ensure environmentally-friendly olive farming practices are the basic requirements which allowed the oil mill to achieve this important Community and national recognition.
In the olive sector, Producer Organizations are the pillars of the CMO, that is, the tools of the agricultural policy used by the EU, along with the MIPAAF, to fund investments and activities that can be carried out by the Producers Organizations to increase the product quality standards, reduce the production costs, improve the marketing conditions and reduce the environmental impact of olive cultivation, through agronomic and strategic practices that safeguard the ecosystems and protect the health of consumers. The regime of Community support to the olive sector has its legal basis in art. 29 of EU Regulation no. 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and Council, which establishes terms and conditions within which the three-year support programmes of the recognized POs are eligible for the Community co-funding.
The legal framework is completed, on a Community level, by Delegated Regulation no. 611/2013 and Implementing Regulation no. 615/2014 while, on a national level, by Ministerial Decree no. 6931 of 10 January 2015. With reference to the above-mentioned regulatory framework, the Producer cooperative oil mill submitted an independent project for the three-year period 2015/2018, then approved by the Lazio Region, AGEA (the Agency for agricultural funds) and MIPAAF.
The project consists of different measures, as explained below, and pursues the following objectives:
Below we list the actions taken by our oil mill to guarantee our customers a quality extra virgin olive oil
Measure: project of observation of the seasonal population of olive fly
The olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) is a parasite that still represents a constant threat to an olive-growing competitive and quality and in territory caninese is a climatic environment particularly favorable to their development during the summer and autumn. The damage caused by fly resides in tunnels dug by the larvae inside of drupes that causes the early fall, desiccation and the increased acidity in the olive oil content. The seasonal observation project involves the construction of a widespread monitoring network throughout the terriotory, including through the deployment of traps to capture adults of the parasite completed by an extensive sampling program and analysis of ripening on the companies of the member farmers.
The data collected with the sampling of drupes are integrated with those of the adult caught, males and females, which also elaborated on the basis of agro climate and temperature data it allows you to have a detailed overview of the status of any infestations and prepare alert bulletins for all growers associated to guide the defense strategies and to minimize chemical treatments or even to avoid them where the high summer temperatures may have stopped the development of the larval stages, all at consumer protection guarantee.
Measure: Producers training in new olive cultivation techniques
The final quality of the olive oil is closely related to the tree physiology and to a correct management of the olive grove in agronomic terms. A thorough knowledge of the tree physiology and the most modern pruning techniques are the basic requirements for a competitive and high-quality olive cultivation. The three-year programme provides for specific pruning courses open to producers and the organization of seminars to analyse all aspects related to a correct olive grove management with the participation of experts and lecturers. Participants will have a pruning tool kit for the practical lessons and the material useful for a better knowledge of olive growing techniques.
Measure: improving the conditions of olive growing, harvesting, delivering and storing prior to processing
An effective quality-oriented policy should encourage actions aimed at improving the cultivation conditions in all phases of the olive cycle, with reference to the agronomic and phytosanitary aspects, through a technical agronomic service that, in compliance with the new directives issued by the Legislative Decree of 22 January 2014 (NAP – National Action Plan), will be aimed at orienting the co-op members towards environmental-friendly agronomic practices, in order to reduce the production costs and the environmental impact resulting from an excessive chemical inputs linked to fertilization practices and increased final quality of products, thus enhancing the benefits for the consumer health.
The measure also involves another innovative intervention: the spread, among the associated producers, of equipment aimed at easier pruning techniques and improved vegetative balance of trees, making them more responsive to the requirements of the mechanical harvesting. Harvesters are completely environmental-friendly, without any smell or noise, and allow to improve the conditions in which the activity is carried out. This measure also allows to improve the safety conditions as these innovative solutions reduce the risk of accidents and injuries for operators.
The three-year project also provides for the purchase of containers with perforated walls to better preserve the organoleptic properties of olives from harvesting to delivery to the oil mill.
Measure: improving the storage conditions of olive oil and table olives, enhancing the residues of olive oil production, improving the olive oil bottling conditions.
The measure is divided into two parts: enhancement of the olive pomace as by-product of the olive oil production process, to be used as biomass fuel by private users, and improvement of bottling and labelling conditions by setting up a separate area for the new packaging concept, in order to get a rationalization of the olive oil production process. The criteria used to set up the bottling area will ensure food hygiene and optimization of machinery use.
Measure: technical support to production, to the olive oil production industry, to the companies producing table olives, to oil mills and packaging, on aspects relating to product quality
The organoleptic and nutritional properties of the extra virgin olive oil depend on the quality of olives during the oil production phase, on the physical extraction technology and the attention paid to the delicate packaging (decanting, filtration) and storage phases. The different production stages may imply a deep change in the oil composition resulting from changes in some natural components of olives (due to enzymatic and oxidative interventions) and the subdivision of the aromatic and anti-oxidant components between the oily phase, the solid-colloidal matrix of the olive paste and the vegetation water. The quality of the extra virgin olive oil results, therefore, from the simultaneous control of three aspects: raw materials (olives), whole extraction process and storage. The temperature and the period in which the olive paste remains in the kneading machine are fundamental for the oil quality and even in case of slight deviations from the optimal values oxidation processes can occur, as well as flavour defects (cooked, rancid, metallic). With relation to these aspects, the project provides for a technical support service to help operators in the activities related to the production process, to ensure the processes optimization and avoid any problems or malfunctioning of machinery, which may compromise the quality standards of the oil produced.
The second part of the measure is aimed at a gradual implementation of the planning of oil extraction activities and control of olive delivery points in order to monitor the amount of product delivered and optimize the milling process thus ensuring that olive processing is carried out within 24 hours from delivery. This measure will be implemented during the three-year period and will involve a gradual adaptation of the hardware/software equipment for the implementation of delivery points, coding of unloading places, storage and milling control and management in order to monitor the processing and storage of oil and olives thus orienting delivery and harvesting.
Measure: creation and management of quality certification systems based on the hazard analysis and critical control points
The quality policies implemented by the oil mill to protect the consumers are complemented by the practical application of two standards of voluntary quality certification based on the hazard analysis and critical control points, in compliance with the international standards IFS and ISO 22000, aimed at monitoring the production processes carried out at the milling and packaging plant of Canino, in order to ensure the quality and safety of our extra virgin olive oil even through a systematic plan of analysis of the olive oil produced.
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