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We understand olive growing as the set of techniques that are applied to the cultivation of olive trees and other oleaginous plants as well as to the improvement of oil production. When we refer to the olive sector, we refer to all the agents involved in the value chain relative to or referring to olive cultivation.
In Spain, the olive oil sector is the world leader in surface area, production and foreign trade. The olive grove area is 2,733,620 hectares, with an average annual production of 1,394,950 tons. It is the third most exported agri-food product with more than 100 destination countries, with an average value of 2,837 million euros per year and a favorable trade balance. It is therefore a fundamental pillar in the Spanish economy and in certain producing countries such as Italy, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey or Greece.
However, despite the fact that it is a dynamic sector in general, we still find gaps and deficiencies that could be solved with a good professional olive training. When we talk about private production companies and cooperatives, we see that there are small differences in terms of training.
When an individual begins in the world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) production, he/she usually has little production and his/her desire is to market high quality extra virgin olive oils.
When it comes to a Cooperative, they generally want to train the olive oil master miller in production towards quality or in maintenance of the mill and if managerial personnel come, usually the training they need is more related to export and marketing courses.
ESAO students at Master Miller's course. ESAO Image bank
A high percentage of individuals are unaware of the classification of the different categories of olive oil, ask about the kinds of olive oil, and are very interested in the chemical analysis of olive oil.
The first step that anyone interested in making extra virgin olive oil, as well as in marketing, has to do, the first step is to train, to take olive oil courses. It is of little use for me to start making olive oil if I do not know the different categories, and if I do not know the sensory analysis.
Knowing what product is in front of me and what are its weaknesses or strengths will help me to professionalize myself and be able to decide with criteria.
For any professional in the olive sector, it is important to be trained in tasting, to be trained in production and to be trained in marketing, since the three branches are closely related to each other and you cannot work on only one of them without having knowledge of the other two.
When it comes to selling and marketing, which in the end is the ultimate goal of any company, being trained will help me develop and evolve my brand or my project. Let's see an example.
I want to market my own brand of olive oil, and for this I buy olive oil from a cooperative and I want it to be packaged directly with my brand.
First of all I will have to train in Olive Oil Tasting
It may seem absurd, but the first thing I have to know is the product I want to work with. I have to know about the different qualities that exist to be able to choose which one I am going to focus my business model on. I have to know the differences between some virgin olive oils and others. We are not talking about being experts in tasting but about at least having some basic notions about sensory analysis, approach to defects, descriptors, etc.
ESAO students during olive oil tasting session. ESAO image bank
I will have to have notions of production to see if the cooperative that I am selecting is suitable and meets all the necessary quality criteria and has good traceability among many other things, for this it is necessary that I acquire notions of the best practices in production olive oil, for this it has training in olive oil elaboration.
ESAO students during Olive oil mill Mechanics Course. ESAO image bank
I will have to have notions of marketing or commercialization, since I cannot pretend to commercialize a high-end extra virgin olive oil and not have a website in accordance with the corporate image that I want to have. In order to decide on the corporate image, I will first have to know the market I want to address or the customer I want to sell the oil to.
VOO Export and Marketing ESAO Course. ESAO image bank
Professional training can help us to develop the olive sector in an indisputable way, since professional training is one of the most important tools to achieve professionalization.
In an increasingly competitive olive oil sector, training in olive oil is essential.
Investing in vocational training in the olive sector will help us to improve olive companies and to achieve a magnificent pool of professionals.
Student visiting olive grove during ESAO training. ESAO image bank
The professionalism of employees, owners, boards and companies help to promote and develop the olive sector.