Organic olive oil in Italy: a missed opportunity?

Fabio Maria Santucci1, Roberta Callieris2 and Delizia del Bello3
1 University of Perugia, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Research Unit of Applied Economics, Borgo XX Giugno 74, 06121 Perugia, Italy
2 MAI – Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, Via di Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
3 ISMEA – Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market, Viale Liegi 26, 00198 Roma, Italy


Santucci, F. M., Callieris, R. & del Bello, D. (2020). Organic olive oil in Italy: a missed opportunity? Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 27(6), 1039–1050

This paper analyses the status and evolution of the value chain “organic olives and organic olive oil” in the 20 Italian Regions, to understand two contemporary phenomena. First, since many landholders (about 43 000) receive the CAP decoupled subsidy for conversion to organic methods and then for maintenance, on about 238 000 ha, we have quantify a potential output of 125 000 – 162 000 tons of organic oil, but only about 40 000 tons are certified. This means losing the opportunities linked with market valorisation, namely the premium prices. Second, there is an unquantified number of tiny producers, whose number and output remain unknown, who do not even apply for the organic area subsidy and consequently lose both this subsidy and the premium price. In both cases, the market potential of the organic olive oil, with its positive impacts on the firms contributing to the added value, is lost. Also lost is the potential impact on the diversification of rural economies, namely agri- and rural tourism. This means less incomes and jobs, especially in the southern Regions of Italy, where most of the potential organic EVO oil is located. The Authors suggest further research on the organization of the value chain, to understand better the difficulties and bottlenecks which limit the exploitation of the organic EVO oil. The Authors also propose a more integrated approach, for the value chain and for linkages with rural development actions, with the involvement of the different stakeholders, to favour the creation of more added value and the recognition of the small organic producers.

Keywords: Common Agricultural Policy; marketing; value chain; rural development; group certification

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