Alentejo has the largest olive grove area and is the region that produces the most olive and olive oil in Portugal, thanks to the Alqueva irrigation and the transformation of traditional to modern olive groves, according to the study "Alentejo: Leading the International Modern Olive Growing", which was held by two consultants and is presented this Tuesday in Beja in the 6th edition of the Olivum Conference – Association of Southern Olive Growers.
"Alentejo led the current transformation of international olive growing," says the study, highlighting the effect of irrigating the Alqueva zone, where in August this year there were 55,185 hectares (ha) of olive groves, "over 90% modern", which are "the biggest reflection of innovation, disruption and technological development on the planet".
According to the study, "tremendous research, knowledge and experience has been needed to manage" olive groves and mills, "through completely new solutions that, in many cases for the first time, have been developed, designed, tested and used "in the Alqueva area.
The Alqueva irrigation allowed the traditional olive grove to be converted into a modern one and, "from an economic point of view, we have witnessed a real revolution", since "within a few years" the olive oil value chain "has more than tripled" and " is now worth about 450 million euros, "says the study.
"This greater generation of wealth has had very positive social effects," contributing to "increased employment", "boosting a 'dormant' territory" and "settling people".
The Alentejo, says the study, "has been affirmed as the world reference in the process of modernization and innovation of olive growing, which has allowed to place the region in the spotlight of the agricultural world."
The region "has invested in modern and efficient production systems" and has invested in mills "with the most developed technology in the world", which has allowed "to increase" the productivity of olive groves and "improve the quality" of olive oil "significantly".
In recent campaigns, "the weight of the Alentejo as the largest producing region at national level" has been accentuated and, in the last 18 years, the area of olive groves in the region has increased by almost 30 thousand ha, from 158,559 ha in 2007 to 188,500 ha in 2018. .
New irrigated areas, especially the Alqueva, and the transformation of traditional to modern olive groves have made it possible to "affirm Alentejo as the region with the highest olive production" in Portugal.
In 2018, Alentejo produced 76% of the olive produced in Portugal, three times more than in 1999, when it produced 25.3%.
The transformation, with the installation of modern and efficient irrigated olive groves, has also increased "more than six times" the productivity of olive groves in the region over the past 18 years.
In Alentejo, the average production of olive groves is about three tons of olive per ha, but in modern olive groves in full production averages of 10 to 12 tons per ha.
Therefore, according to the same study, "very strong growth" of olive production in the Alentejo is expected when the newly installed modern olive groves reach full production.
Over the past 14 years, olive oil production in the region, despite the annual variation in olive oil yields, has ranged from 8,534 tonnes in 2005, the year with the lowest production, to 97,004 tonnes in 2017, the year with the highest production.
In the Alentejo, the value chain of the olive sector, which includes olive and olive oil production, "has more than tripled in eight years" and is currently worth "around 450 million euros".
The olive grove is the culture that "has attracted the most foreign investment, in particular" in the Alqueva area, the study points out, noting that "the Spanish were the main drivers of the first phase of modern olive grove expansion in the region", but with the expansion of the Alqueva, investment in culture "came to be led" by the Portuguese.
Most of the olive groves in the Alqueva area (84%) are concentrated in the municipalities of Beja (18,834 ha), Serpa (14,115 ha), Ferreira do Alentejo (7,042 ha), Vidigueira (3,891 ha) and Moura (2,530 ha). ).
Under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Program, until February 2019, investment in olive groves represented 64.39% of the total agricultural investment made in Alentejo.
. (tagsToTranslate) Modern International Olive Growing (t) Portugal (t) Alqueva (t) Beja (t) Southern Olive Growers (t) agriculture and fisheries (t) olive grove