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Creation of a Pilot Demonstration Plants and Training to Improve Olive Oil Quality in Latin America (CFC/IOOC/08)


This four year project started in May 2009 to support the cost-effective and environmentally sustainable production of high-quality olive oil suitable for the national and international market in the region of Catamarca, Argentina. It aimed to establish an innovative processing plant and provide training to a range of stakeholders, including olive farmers and olive oil processors to increase their revenues and support the overall economic development of the region.

The Project has been completed following a Completion Review mission held in July 2013. The modern olive processing plant set up by the project and supplied by the Italian firm Pieralisi S.p.A, worldwide market leader on olive oil extraction technology, is located in the industrial zone in San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, 7 kms from the city center of San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca. Permanent staff, two operators and the plant manager, has been recruited and trained. The plant is now fully operational together with the bottling system and the showroom. With its actual processing capacity of 1600 Kg/hr, considered adequate to process olive crop from a large number of small olive farmers, the plant efficiently manages the complete process of olive oil making, from receiving and sorting the olives to extracting and bottling the end product. It provides a state-of-the-art crushing, testing, storing and bottling facilities for the production of good quality extra virgin olive oil to be promoted and sold under the brand “Olivares del Valle”, also developed under the project.

A new brand logo was created “Olivares del Valle”, bottle labels designed, promotional materials were developed together with an ad hoc web site and a FB page. Training for olive farmers on the adoption of good agricultural practices and good orchards management has been undertaken. Regarding the destination of the ownership of the plant, the Cooperative 12 Olivos has received the plant from CFC for commercial use by its members, but will have to assure the utilization of the plant for dissemination and training purposes by the UNCa which, in exchange, will grant to the cooperative the exclusive use of the plant building.  

During the 2013 crop season, first commercial production & marketing campaign, the plant processed 385 tons of olives with an average oil extraction rate of 11%. About 16,000 Lit of extra virgin olive oil were produced and marketed under the Brand “Olivares del Valle”. In the last implementing year the project produced tangible economic gains for the members of the cooperative, assuring a higher and sustainable income from the production and sale of quality olive oil, which could obtain a premium price on the national and international market: the members of the Cooperative 12 Olivos, presently formed of 13 small holder farmers from Catamarca, tripled their sales returns per liter of olive oil from 3 USD in 2010 to 10 USD in 2013 (at the Caminos Y Sabores Fair held in Bueno Aires in July 2013, olive oil bottles of various size for a total volume over 750 Liters were sold during 4 days with a total turnover of 37,500 pesos (7000 USD). Olivares del Valle is also distributed in Canada by ATK Consulting Group. The distributor’s main clients are specialized boutiques and high end restaurants nationwide. At full capacity, the pilot plant is expected to produce 150,000 liters of HIGH quality olive oil per year, which at the average wholesale price of 10 USD/Lit, will result in a total gross revenue of USD 1,500,000. 

A detailed summary of the Project Completion Report can be accessed above.

A video showing in details the activities of olive oil processing In Catamarca operated with the newly established modern plant can be accessed here.

More detailed information regarding the results of the project may be obtained at the project website: www.olivaresdelvalle.com and at the dedicated Facebook page www.facebook.com/OlivaresDelValle