The European Union is the leading producer, consumer and exporter of olive oil. In the last five marketing years (2011/12 – 2015/16) the EU produced 70%, consumed 56% and exported 66% of the world's olive oil.
An "action plan" for the olive oil sector
At the Agriculture Council meeting on 18 June 2012, Commissioner Cioloş presented an action plan on the olive oil sector.
The action plan is developed around the following axes:
- Quality and control
- Restructuring of the sector
- Structuring of the chain
- International Olive Council
- Competition with third countries
Strengths of European olive oil sector are product quality and positive image, the main actions to be undertaken therefore target at:
- Quality and its control, through measures to preserve and promote the image of the European olive oil and to protect / inform consumers better;
- Strengthening the competitiveness of the sector by using all possibilities offered by the CAP reform and by mobilizing all actors.
Long known to many generations in the Mediterranean world as essential to their health and diet, olive oil is now widely appreciated in Europe and around the world for its nutritional, health and sensory properties.
Happily, given its importance to the economies of many regions, demand is steadily increasing both in the EU and in third countries, helped by information and promotional campaigns supported by the EU and others.
The main aim of EU olive oil policy is to maintain and strengthen its position in world markets by encouraging production of a high quality product for the benefit of growers, processors, traders and consumers.
Since 2008 the olive oil regimes has been integrated into the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO).
Detailed information on the EU olive oil sector
International Olive Council (IOC)
The International Olive Council (IOC) is an intergovernmental organisation.
The current International Agreement on olive oil and table olives of 2005 entered into force on 1 January 2006 and was originally valid until 31 December 2014.
In its November 2014 session the IOC decided to prolong the Agreement's validity until the end of 2015.
This extension, as well as a number of other decisions taken, pave the way for the swift conclusion of the on-going negotiations in 2015 which will establish a new international agreement for the IOC, taking into the account the economic, technical and commercial evolution in the olive sector.
IOC members account for almost 95 % of the world production of olive oil. Almost all the Mediterranean countries and, in addition, Argentina, Iraq and Iran participate in the Agreement.
The Agreement is one of a number of international commodity agreements concluded under the auspices of UNCTAD. They include sugar, cereals, olive oil, coffee, cocoa, tropical wood, rubber, jute, copper, lead, zinc etc.
Current IOC objectives and activities are:
- International technical cooperation (research, training, technical assistance, cooperation)
- International trade standards (setting standards, harmonization of national and international legislation, labeling and geographical indications)
- Promotion of olive sector products (IOC promotion actions)