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Table olives and olive oil are well known for their beneficial effects on human health, mainly because of the protection they offer the skin and the cardiovascular and skeletal systems. These foods are basic elements in the Mediterranean diet - countries in this area are not only the main producers but are also those with the most consumers.

The underlying idea in this project is that this source of healthy food should not be restricted to those producers located in the Mediterranean region. In fact, it is highly recommended that table olives and olive oil should be part of the regular diet not only in European countries, but also worldwide. To achieve this goal, the producing companies need to be strengthened since the majority of them in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and mainly family firms.

The project will attempt to achieve this by investigating the actual situation of SMEs through surveys and direct contact with enterprises in order to obtain first-hand knowledge of the needs of the sector. It has two main objectives: to develop a modern SME with qualified staff, which employs new information technologies to access information and all the relevant technological innovation systems; and to create an SME, and be seriously committed with the optimisation of product quality, and seriously committed to the treatment, recycling and reuse of all waste products generated during its activities.


The network of TDCs (Technology Dissemination Centres) will give free support to SMEs in the table olive and olive oil sector and act as a bridge linking them with the academic and research community. TDCs will circulate a wide range of regional and international information on innovation, access to funding and subsidies, relevant research, legislation, exhibitions and more. News about methods of quality assessment will help SMEs to raise the standards of the oil and table olives they produce.

The TDCs will involve business associations and other organisations within the sector in its activities in order to establish a long-lasting network able to continue supporting SMEs once the two-year project has come to an end. The network will also disseminate knowledge about olive oil to countries that are currently only small consumers: an 'olive encyclopaedia' of booklets will be produced which will be aimed at businesses, consumers and scientists. In addition, articles will be published in technical journals along with material for the more popular publications market. Promotions will be held at food exhibitions and surveys will be carried out to find out participants' attitudes to consuming olive oil, thereby helping to frame market initiatives. The results will be published on the TDC website.


Early in the project, TDC-OLIVE will carry out a survey among the SMEs in the sector to establish their general needs and, specifically, their training requirements. The results of this will determine the training programme that will be organised to help SMEs to modernise and become more competitive. This programme will try to cover a broad scope of subjects and techniques, i.e. environmental aspects, ICT, food quality, quality product regulations, and marketing techniques.

TDCs will also provide online courses to facilitate access to those SMEs and business associations that are unable to attend the training programmes. Those participating online will be monitored by a tutor and will be able to participate in online forums.

List of Partners

  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain)
  • Unilever (The Netherlands)
  • Asociación Agraria de Jóvenes Agricultores (Spain)
  • Instituto Madrileño de Investigación Agraria y Alimentaria (Spain)
  • Istituto Sperimentale per l´Elaiotecnica (Italy)
  • Sabina-Agricola (Italy)
  • Agricultural Association Agio Apostolon Vion (Greece)
  • Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products (Greece)
  • Technologie-Transfer- Zentrum (Germany)
  • Federal Centre for Cereal, Potato and Lipid Research (Germany)
  • Alcubilla 2000 S.L. (Spain)
  • Improtechnology Limited (UK)
  • Biozoon (Germany)
Full title:
Setting-up a network of technology dissemination centres to optimise SMEs in the olive and olive oil sector
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Rosa de la Viesca,
EC Scientific Officer:
Dirk Pottier,
EU contribution:
€ 789,000
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top