From 12 to 15 September 2022, two years after the project started, the ARTOLIO team met in Perrotis College, Thessaloniki, Greece, to prepare one of the peaks of the project: the second harvest season.
ARTOLIO, a project for a profitable and sustainable artisanal olive oil industry in the Mediterranean (with funding from ENI CBC MED), aims to provide continuous technical, agronomic and business training as well as hands-on guidance to farmers and mills over a period of two years.
The final objective of the project is to improve olive oil yields and quality as well as implement better management skills for farmers and millers to make their micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) stronger and more profitable. The University of Jaén participates through the University Institute for Research on Olives and Olive Oils (INUO).
The project also provides these MSMEs with help in marketing, sales, finance, policy and legislation, at both the national and international levels. These measures and actions allow olive MSMEs to export their products to foreign markets at premium prices, which in turn spawns more economically resilient olive MSMEs, creates jobs in rural areas and increases environmental sustainability through increased carbon uptake.
During the meeting, the tremendous work carried out by each partner was summarised and discussions were had on activities for the future. The ARTOLIO marketing platform was launched and the participating farmers gave forecasts for their EVOO production. Guests were also taken on a field tour to an ancient olive mill, as well as Chalkidiki olive farm and a local olive mill, Agriston. The ARTOLIO group ended the meeting with round table discussions on olive cultivation, olive oil quality and olive oil marketing.
The meeting was attended by: project coordinator Giora Ben Ari, from the Agriculture Research Organisation, Volcani Institute (ARO-Israel); the Perrotis College (Greece), which hosted the events and was represented by its Dean, Konstantinos Rotsios, and by Kiriaki Zinoviadou, Athanasios Gertsis and Katerina Roumelioti; the Hellenic Agricultural Organisation (HAO-DEMETER, Greece), represented by Panagiotis Katsaris and Ilias Kalfakakos; the Palestinian Center for Agricultural Research and Development (PCARD), represented by Salah Abu Eisheh and Mohammad Jodeh; Eshkol Beit HaKerem (Israel), represented by Ehud Soriano and Yifat Reuveni; the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus, represented by Gorgios Artisteidou and Demetra Tofari; and the University of Jaén, represented by Sebastian Sanchez, Arturo García-Agulló Meliveo, Inmaculada Olivares Merino and Elena Guzman. The International Olive Council also took part, represented by the Head of the Technical Cooperation and Training Department, Catarina Bairrao Balula, who participated in the final discussions and closing.