EU project helps olive growers go green
Tuesday 1 May 2007Europe's olive growers face two major challenges: on the one hand, they have to adhere to strict EU environmental legislation, but at the same time competition from overseas olive growers is pressurising them to keep their prices low.
Now, thanks to the EU-funded INASOOP (Integrated Approach to Sustainable Olive Oil and Table Olive Production) project, help is at hand. For the past three years, the project partners have been working on a set of guidelines which will help olive growers improve their environmental performance and become more competitive.
Most of the EU's 12,000 olive mills are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for whom following the EU's environmental legislation while competing with growers elsewhere is a major challenge.
The INASOOP project was led by the Bremerhaven Technology-Transfer-Centre and brought together olive mill associations, producers and research institutes. The project partners analysed the situation in the different countries involved in the project. They are now working together to produce Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). On the basis of these guidelines the partners are producing instructions which will help producers apply the standards as simply as possibly. They cover issues such as how to reduce water and energy use, the uptake of new technologies for waste disposal and how to improve production conditions.