24 May

Future of Olive (Oil) in Australia

Olive farms must map future

John Fennell inspects an olive tree.

THE state’s more than 500 olive farmers have been urged to start seriously planning long-term to compete on the world market.

Two reports on the future of olive growing showed the industry had significant potential but warned that growers needed to become very marketing focused.Primary Industries and Resources of South Australia horticulture principal industry co-ordinator John Fennell said the local industry had had good success with oil exports to the U.S.

The SA olive industry “situational analysis” and the SA olive industry’s economic analysis, however, indicated producers would find it difficult to compete globally on a commodity basis.

Growers needed to differentiate their product and focus on markets requiring high-quality oil that might be more profitable.

The reports showed that at the existing price of $5.50 a litre, small growers had a future. If the price fell to $3.33, even large growers would have to do some serious belt tightening.

Mr Fennell said the larger olive operations had business plans and knew where they were going. “The ones that are vulnerable are the smaller growers because the supermarkets don’t want 600 brands of olive oil,” he said. “The smaller growers need to decide whether to supply fruit to processors or examine options such as developing a combined company to market products.”

The reports showed SA had more than two million olive trees planted by the end of 2003. They were expected to produce 10.5 million litres of oil and 6059 tonnes of table olives, worth about $60 million by 2010.

Mr Fennell said PIRSA, in conjunction with Olives SA, was preparing to develop an olive industry strategic plan.

“Everyone interested in the future of the SA industry is invited to attend either of two workshops in May to voice their concerns and ideas for the development of a strategic plan,” he said.

“The plan must be a collaborative effort from across industry for it to succeed.”

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One Response to “Future of Olive (Oil) in Australia”

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