domenica 8 febbraio 2015

New monthly quotas for the Tunisian olive oil imports to EU for 2015

The European Commission has recently adopted a new regulation restating the maximum monthly import quotas of Tunisian olive oil (derogating the Regulation (EC) no. 1918/2006) for the period February 1st to October 31st , 2015, so to facilitate the entry in the European Union.

The measure applies in 2015 and does not change the total amount of the annual quota.

We cannot ignore that this decision is taken within a context of considerable production drop in olive oil registered in the two major producing countries, Italy and Spain.

In the coming months, therefore, we will analyze the data as soon as available to evaluate the effect of such decision.

The regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union January 31st, 2015 and has been applied since February 1st.

The maximum monthly  quota (unfortunately the press release is in French only) for imports of Tunisian olive oil in the EU, by virtue of this decision, moves from a total of 5,000 tons  to 18,000 tons (9,000 per month) for the months of February and March 2015, and then to 8,000 tons from April to October 2015.

The flexibility thus introduced will allow Tunisian operators to maximize their profit out of the tax-free contingent amount of olive oil for the EU market enjoying an excellent season.

The annual quota, however, remains unchanged. On the basis of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Tunisia, Tunisian exports of olive oil to the EU are subject to an annual quota of 56,700 tons. The management of this quota is normally limited by the maximum monthly quotas defined in Regulation (EC) No. 1918/2006.

Regulation (EC) n.1918 / 2006 (signed by Mariann Fischer Boel) provides, in fact, a tariff quota for imports into the European Community of virgin olive oil (CN codes 1509 10 10 and 1509 10 90), wholly obtained in Tunisia and transported directly from that Country into the EC. The quota sums to 56,700 tons to which it is applied to a duty of 0%. Each year, it shall be opened on January 1st. For each year, and subject to the quota referred to in paragraph  import licenses are normally subjected - before this exception - to the following monthly maxima:

  • 1,000 tons for each of the months of January and February,
  • 4,000 tons for the month of March,
  • 8,000 tons for the month of April,
  • 10,000 tons for each month of the period between May and October.

The quantities not used in a given month are added to those of the following month, but not to those of the second following month.

As requested by the Tunisian Government, the EC has therefore decided to reallocate the monthly quotas to allow Tunisians operators to take full advantage of their export potential.

Olive oil, in fact, is among the major (if not the largest) voices for the Tunisian exports to the EU. The olive sector is vital for the Tunisian economy: currently, it employs both directly and indirectly more than a million people, about one fifth of the workforce employed in agriculture at the national level.

The EU Commission, in its press release, said that this decision testifies the EU's commitment to deepen its efforts to build and maintain a privileged partnership with Tunisia, a Country that constantly progresses in its path to democratization. Yet, the Commission reports that after the parliamentary and presidential elections, the EU is determined to support both politically and financially the new Tunisian authorities to pursue the necessary reforms and to consolidate the democratic attained gains and address the socio-economic challenges of the country.

See you soon!

domenica 25 gennaio 2015

Clean and sustainable olive oil production in Chile

It's a while we started following a Olio del Sur an interesting window on the olive oil world from the Americas, or Latin America by Gabriele Giusti.
This week we found an interesting post about the Acuerdo de Produccion Limpia de la Industria del Aceite de Oliva (Agreement for the Clean Production in the Olive Oil Industry).

The Agreement started in 2013 to promote the use of practices and technologies for a sustainable production maintaining production efficiency and competitiveness.

Output of the project include sustainability indexes, efficiency in water consumption (mainly for irrigation and milling), better energy use and management, improved organic waste management from the oil industry, improved safety and hygiene of the work conditions, hygiene, training of the workforce as well.

The project advantages from the collaboration and the economic support of the Chilean Agency for the Energy Efficiency (Agência de Eficiência Energética do Chile).

The Agreement
The Agreement, that will keep working in 2015 and gathers farms and representatives of the olive oil industry, was signed in 2013 June 26th between the Asociación Chilena de Productores de Aceite de Oliva (ChileOliva), and the Consejo Nacional de Producción Limpia (Chile’s National Clean Production Council - CPL) from the Ministry of Economics, Development and Tourism, involving the ChileOliva and the Chilean Agency for Energy Efficiency (AChEE). This public-private partnership integrated governmental resources through the CPL providing environmental and economic benefits to the industry beyond the term of the project itself. The local partners, such as AChEE, the Center for Renewable Energies (CER), the Ministry of Environment, the Service for Technical Cooperation (SERCOTEC), have established the infrastructure to continue these activities and, in addition, WEC included participation from the American Chamber of Commerce of Chile (AMCHAM).

The Embassy of the United States in Chile, in fact reported that Agreement (which is signed on a voluntary basis) stems from a project of the US State Department through the World Environment Center (WEC), an Non-Profit Organization that promotes sustainable development and energy efficiency in the private sector. In 2010 the U.S. Department of State established a cooperation agreement with the World Environment Center (WEC) to support the Chilean private sector to advance sustainable enterprise development. This led to start a pilot project in 2012 among ChileOliva and the WEC whose first positive results boosted the further activities.

The Project
The project focused on providing direct technical assistance to local small and mid-sized companies to improve their performance and strengthening their competitiveness in the international market an to implement and achieve the goals specifically in:
  • Conservation of water and energy; 
  • Reducing waste, raw material use and emissions; 
  • Establishing environmental management systems; and 
  • Accessing funding and loans to finance the adoption of advanced technologies 

Once expanded the original project the activities, now involves up to 50 olive companies, representing 80% of national production capacity.

WEC provided its ability to achieve each project’s goals through a customized approach that leverages the team’s international expertise with local networks and technical knowledge to propagate sustainable business practices. As already stated, the search of new trade opportunities for the private sector is not secondary to the other objectives.

During the first stage of the project, 95 recommendations and action plans were made, 53 of which had been implemented by September 2013.

After having supported the participating companies in their olive plantations to reduce energy consumption in their irrigation systems of lands, the project team shifted its efforts to the milling process. Technical assistance then focused on the follow up and monitoring of recommendations provided during the former harvest season. As result, the participating companies continued to implement energy savings, reduction and control of water consumption and wastewater, as well as employee behavior change to improve their daily operations through best practices.

Examples of opportunities that were identified, mainly in energy and water management, include minimizing water consumption for crop irrigation- which also reduced the correlated energy necessary to pump the water into the fields; and replacing fuel boilers with biomass boilers used to incinerate the olive pits. The activities that produced the most significant results were in product recovery and wastewater pollution reduction. In fact, these indicators are interrelated because almost the entire product that was recovered (olive oil or olive paste) was extracted from the discarded water.
Energy, however, is the environmental aspect with the highest savings potential as well as the most sustained return of investment (measurements indicated that 99.9% of all investments are returned within a payback period of at least 2.5 years).

The Project's Results
So far, the most noteworthy result of the this public-private partnership (as of September 2013 - when WEC finalized its assistance to the sector) environmental and energy savings reported by the participating companies include:
  • Reduction of 238 tons per year of materials used in production; 
  • Over 1.2 million gallons of water saved; 
  • Over 487,000 kw, 2,314 gallons of fuel, and 34 tons of biomass saved; and 
  • Reduction of 263 tons of CO2 emissions. 
The team measured the economic impact among the companies and found that a total of $114,800 had been invested by the companies in equipment and process upgrades through the project term, and $157,000 had been garnered in savings from these improvements.

The overall results for the industry, aside from process and efficiency improvements, environmental advances, and savings, include strengthening their market position internationally as ChileOliva looks to continue its export expansion. In fact, because Chilean olive production is increasing every year, many of these companies were planning on installing new production lines: 6 of 9 companies confirmed that they would install new lines in the following 2 years [hence, by 2015].

More information can be found on an official WEC report following this link.

The WEC also reported that the Chilean olive oil industry stands to save approximately 4 million liters of water and 2 million KWH per year, which translates to annual savings of almost 1 billion pesos, or USD $2 million.

We do not know where the Chilean olive oil industry started when this project was implemented, neither we know whether the projects involved innovative technologies for sustainability or rather a simple transfer of mature knowledge and technologies from abroad. What matters, is that a share of the olive oil production in now greener than before, without loosing in economic sustainability but rather saving money and empowering new market relationship.
It has been a while since the US started moving in the olive oil industry by leveraging its brokerage attitude firstly in Central and Southern America and then in Asia (mainly China - read our blog for more examples). The WEC has several lines of investments eg. in Mexico, Perù, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, China.
Meanwhile, Chile looks like working to affirm itself as the "lighthouse" of the high quality EVOO from Latin America: OroChile 2014, Concurso Latinoamericano de Aceite de Oliva organized by ChileOliva and the University of Chile in 2014 involved experts from  Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Perú y Uruguay [here the list of winners 2014].


Greening production is certainly the best way to attain this goal and it witnesses that the consumer preferences toward sustainability attributes and intangible assets deserve consistent investment to exploit money.

Don't you agree?


venerdì 23 gennaio 2015

The US olive oil market: not just consumption but a growing industry.

It has been a while since out short post about the international olive oil trade network where we pointed out the key role the US was building in the olive oil industry although its small national production, revealed by the brokerage index among a circle of "customer" Countries (read our post from 2010 "How is the international trade network of olive oil changing?").

The US is seen as a target market for olive oil especially from the largest producing Countries, one above all Italy. But things may not be likely to stand for ever. Investments in research (see the UC Davis Olive Oil Center and the Robert Mondavi Institute), media (see the exploit on the web), new international competition and schools, the growing attention from the culture  (do you remember when the New Yorker published Thomas Mueller article? - read our post "Reputation does it matter?") and the Governmental and political moves, are all signals - we believe - of a willingness to play an active role in this market.

It is this framework that we decided to report this new we read on the Sacramento Business Journal on line (by Mark Anderson - staff writer).

Australia's largest olive oil producer, Boundary Bend Ltd., is setting up a $20 million olive press in Woodland (California, US) to process 20 tons of olives per hour into extra virgin olive oil.

So, if on one side the US industry is seeming to gain in its brokerage ability, say buying from abroad, blend, and sell again abroad, someone else points to cut with intermediaries and produce directly on the US soil.

The new Boundary Bend's press, which will begin work with this year's crop, is in fact part of the company's move to set up its U.S. headquarters in Woodland. The facility also will have a bottling operation, laboratory and offices. The 10-acre site uses some existing buildings, and the company is building more structures at 455 Harter Ave., a site that used to be a John Deere dealership.

The company says its manufacturing operation could eventually scale up to press 50 tons per hour. As a measure of scale, the Seka Hills Tasting Room olive mill in the Capay Valley is a 2.5 ton-per-hour press.

Boundary Bend is looking to buy orchards and also to get contracts from growers to supply it with fruit, said Adam Englehardt, head of the company's local subsidiary. Englehardt had previously been the main farmer with California Olive Ranch.

"The U.S. market is growing at a rapid rate, and the U.S. consumer is transitioning to higher quality product," Englehardt said.

The Woodland operation will be highly automated, and it will have about 20 full time employees, who will be skilled technicians to work the complicated machinery.

Boundary Bend's olive oils have been winning international competitions for quality, said Dan Flynn, executive director of the University of California Davis Olive Center.

"They are a leader in pushing quality and efficiency," Flynn said. "Basically, olive oil is a fresh fruit juice, so being able to process it quickly and then get it to market quickly greatly improves the quality."

Boundary Bend, founded in 1998, owns 2.2 million trees, mostly in the Australian state of Victoria. The company's Australian production is currently larger than all production in California combined, Englehardt said.

The company owns two Australian olive-oil brands, Cobram Estate and Red Island. It will be launching a brand of California premium oil, which will be targeted at the American market [perhaps; but we can find Californian olive oil also on the Brazilan top retailers' shelves (IOBOOO's note)]. The company also plans to start importing significant quantities of extra virgin oil into the U.S. market from its Australian operations. Its Australian operations can press 160 tons per hour. [apropos of brokerage (IOBOOO's note)]

The California olive oil harvest has been growing quickly, and olive oil production likely will continue to grow because olive trees can thrive on marginal soil and with about half the water of most other orchard crops, Flynn said. The California olive oil harvest was 6,000 acres in 2004 and it grew to 30,000 acres in 2014. Anecdotally, if you drive around California, you will notice a lot of new plantings of olive orchards, he said.

(source of this new)

Hope this is of some interest for you! Bests.