The Provincial Association of Olive Oil Mills brings together 8 companies.

The so-called "new normal" has arrived and with it the summer. We will recover, within the established limits, the activities we used to do before the state of alarm. A period in which our habits have changed and a stage in which many companies in the province have been left behind and others have continued their activity avoiding the shortage of certain products is coming to an end. Today we end this section with olive oil mills in the province.

Olive growing is the economic engine of more than 300 villages and more than a quarter of a million families in Andalusia alone. We cannot forget that more than 50% of the world's olive oils are produced in Spain. Our country is configured as a world leader in production, marketing and export of this product. In Almeria, the Provincial Association of Olive Oil Mills, which brings together eight companies (Castillo Tabernas, Almazara la Vieja, Fernando Jiménez, Oro del Desierto, Oleojarico, Fiñaoliva, Campos de Uleila and Almazara Lubrín) fights for the interests of this sector.

Its president and manager of Fields of Uleila, Mariola HidalgoThe confinement caused an increase in household sales, he says. After those first weeks of confusion, sales stabilized "although there has been a higher consumption at home, this increase has not compensated for the decrease in demand from the hotel and catering sector or the closures of school canteens.

Even exports have not been at the usual pace," explains the president of the Association. The state of alarm, says Mariola Hidalgo, "has contributed to worsen the situation of the oil sector, which was already in a quite complicated moment at a global level. Prices at origin are not good. Olive oil prices are below production costs in many olive farms. We are in a moment of uncertainty that needs support measures." The Provincial Association of Olive Oil Mills asks the administrations for support measures. He regrets that olive oil is used as a claim in large supermarkets "they make sales at a loss or do not give what they really say".

The price crisis that is going through the Spanish olive grove is a risk for the continuation of crops. The president of the Association is satisfied with the work being done in Almeria, "producers are betting on quality. We estimate that around 90% of the olive oil produced in the province is extra virgin olive oil". This sector plays a key role in the economy and contributes to the sustainability of rural areas, is a backbone of the social fabric in much of the territory. Mariola Hidalgo as manager of Campos de Uleila highlights the commitment to quality that has been made from her company, "we started with the exploitation of the family farm and today we have two brands on the market.

MARIOLA HIDALGO: "THE OIL SECTOR WAS ALREADY IN A VERY COMPLICATED MOMENT".

Campos de Uleila is the organic oil of our lands and also in the mill we have a second brand which is VilladoradaThe oil is a quality oil produced with olives from all the farmers who trust us". Campos de Uleila has an annual production of 50,000 liters and Villadorada has an annual production of 200,000 liters. The manager points out that "although it is a very difficult sector, every season we renew our enthusiasm and motivation. I started working side by side with my father and I do not regret continuing with his work, it is something very much ours and I fight to keep this project alive".

The people of Almeria can benefit from this provincial product, which is in demand in other parts of the world, such as Germany, Poland or Denmark. The illusion and motivation of the olive growers of Almeria is renewed every year with the new harvests. The climate and the good work of these workers will try to overcome the difficulties of the market with or without COVID-19.

Source: Almeria Newspaper