Italy Earmarks  €100 Million to Upgrade Its Olive Mills

The funds will be used to improve quality and energy efficiency by upgrading milling equipment. Money will also be provided for renewable energy projects.
Apr. 5, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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The Italian gov­ern­ment has approved a finan­cial pack­age of €100 mil­lion to upgrade the infra­struc­ture of more than 4,000 mills in the coun­try.

In its announce­ment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry said the funds would be used for exist­ing mills whose machin­ery and tech­nol­ogy can be upgraded to be more envi­ron­men­tally friendly.

The min­istry will use some of the funds to help mills develop projects to re-use oper­at­ing waste for energy pro­duc­tion, install clean energy sources and upgrade mills with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to improve olive oil qual­ity.

See Also:New Production Technology Improves Olive Oil Quality

The new funds are part of a broader Agriculture 4.0 ini­tia­tive, which will see €400 mil­lion invested into the sec­tor by 2023. Agriculture 4.0 involves imple­ment­ing pre­ci­sion agri­cul­tural tech­nolo­gies around the coun­try, includ­ing more dig­i­tal­iza­tion and tar­geted irri­ga­tion, fer­til­iza­tion and pes­ti­cide appli­ca­tion.

According to olive farm­ers and millers, the new funds are urgently needed by a sec­tor shaken in recent years by the con­se­quences of a rapidly chang­ing inter­na­tional mar­ket, the con­tin­ued spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa, extreme weather events and a trend of low­er­ing yields in the coun­try.

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Savino Muraglia, pres­i­dent of the Apulian branch of the farm­ing asso­ci­a­tion Coldiretti, said the new ini­tia­tive is an oppor­tu­nity for a cru­cial sec­tor of the olive oil prod­uct chain whose value exceeds €3 bil­lion as an indus­try.”

Coldiretti said the funds would reach a sec­tor expe­ri­enc­ing ris­ing pro­duc­tion costs due to the grow­ing prices of energy, fer­til­izer and con­tain­ers, among oth­ers.

Puglia, home to 893 olive oil millers, is Italy’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region. According to Coldiretti, 25 per­cent of farm­land in the area is used for olive grow­ing. In addi­tion, Puglia is home to almost one-third of all Italian olive groves.

The asso­ci­a­tion added how more than 100 millers in Puglia did not oper­ate a sin­gle day in the last five years, with many sell­ing their equip­ment abroad in the wake of the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa.

According to the min­istry, the regional author­i­ties will define the spe­cific pro­ce­dures for olive oil millers to access the new funds in the com­ing months.



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