Olive industry boosted by government-funded R&D

The Australian Olive Association is predicting a 30% to 40% increase in olive oil production in 2009.

This growth of the industry has been underpinned by research and development done with the support of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Australian Olive Association president, Paul Miller, said research and development funded by RIRDC and other organisations represent one of the great strengths of Australian agriculture.

“Our olive industry is seen globally as one of the most technically advanced and this is based on our scientific and technical approach. The growth of the Australian olive industry over the last 10 years has been underpinned by ongoing research and development that has enabled our industry to better adapt to Australian conditions,” Miller said.

“For example, we were able to establish optimal harvest times for olives and high quality, high production olive varieties that are best suited to Australian climate,” he added.

Miller said industry research is increasingly focused on consumer interests as well as product quality.

“Research has helped us understand the effect of processing on the quality of olive oil and define its natural chemistry. It has given us the tools and knowledge to develop a Code of Practice to better support quality, authenticity and confidence in the Australian olive industry. RIRDC played a major role in the establishment of this Code,” he said.

“Our export push over the last five years has also been assisted by research and development. Our increased understanding of the definition of high quality olive oil has allowed us to meet particular market demand,” Miller explained.

The Australian Olive Association was founded in 1995 as the industry body to encourage research and dissemination of information and the sustained development of a national olive industry in Australia.

The Association recently launched the Australian Extra Virgin brand to help raise awareness and educate consumers about the health benefits, freshness and quality of Australian Extra Virgin olive oil.

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