About the Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program
The Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program, led by OLIVUM, with the University of Évora as a partner, recognizes, strengthens and enhances the environmental, social, economic and cultural performance, present throughout the value chain of olive oil, from the production of olives to the packed olive oil, ensuring its sustainability to the end consumer.
In recent years the Alentejo has established itself as the largest olive oil producing region in the country. Currently it represents 52.8% of the total olive grove area in Portugal. This change comes with the incorporation of new irrigated areas, especially in Alqueva, and with the modernization of traditional olive groves.
In 2021, Portugal would have 380,000 hectares of olive groves, with the Alentejo leading the way with 201,000 hectares, representing an evolution of 43% since 1997.
The installation of modern, irrigated and more efficient olive groves has increased productivity more than 6 times in the last 18 years. Like the olive groves, the mills have also been modernized, allowing olive oil production to become more efficient, with better environmental performance and better quality, allowing 95% of the olive oil produced in the region to be classified as virgin or extra virgin.
This change in olive grove and mill typology has enabled the Alentejo to affirm itself as the largest olive and olive oil producing region in the country. This growth is not expected to stop here, as many of the newly installed olive groves have not yet reached full production.
In 1997 the Alentejo produced 99 thousand tons of olive oil, and in 2021 1 million tons, which represents a 91% growth.
The revolution in the olive-growing sector in the Alentejo has allowed Portugal to become, by 2022, the 6th largest producer of olive oil in the world, and the 3rd largest exporter in the European Union, with the region producing 85% of the national olive oil.
This improvement in efficiency and increase in production has caused the role of olives and olive oil to expand into different spheres, assuming a major role in the environment, society, the economy, and the culture of the Alentejo region and Portugal.
This is how the Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program (PSAA) was created, with the objective of recognizing sustainable practices in its environmental, economic, and social components in its production, and to reinforce and add value to the Alentejo olive oil brand and the region.
The Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program (PSAA), is a project led by OLIVUM in partnership with the University of Évora, which aims to collaborate in an articulated manner with the largest possible number of olive oil producers in the Alentejo – in a mutually beneficial approach based on information sharing – identifying and systematizing a set of practices that promote sustainability.
This exercise will translate into the development of a sustainability benchmark, which will allow for the judicious evaluation and classification of the production, so that it can be certified, increasing the recognition of the quality and value of the olive oil produced in the Alentejo.
The development of a common program for the region stems from the conviction that a collective strategy results in efficiency gains and maximizes results. The Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program (PSAA) will thus, always with a view to cooperation, create value in production and in the product, making them more competitive, sustainable, and an international reference.
To reinforce the image and value of the olive oil produced in the Alentejo region, making its sustainable production and the environmental, economic, social and cultural contributions it makes to the region and the country known in a credible and transparent way.
To affirm the olive oil produced in the Alentejo region, as a competitive, sustainable, high quality product, with added value and a reference at the international level.
Cooperation | Transparency | Credibility | Efficiency
OLIVUM, Associação de Olivicultores e Lagares de Portugal, founded at the end of 2013, arose from the growing need to represent, defend and strengthen the interests of a sector that has been transformed, modernized and evolved – the olive-growing sector in Portugal.
OLIVUM, the leading entity of the Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program, aims, during and after the end of the project, to support olive growers and olive oil producers in the Alentejo region in improving the environmental, social and economic performance of their activity, ensuring its due recognition and promoting its value. Contact the lead entity, here.
The University of Évora, partner entity of the Alentejo Olive Oil Sustainability Program, has skills and knowledge in the research areas of, among others, Agronomy and Biodiversity, Geophysics, Environment and Landscape, and Economy and Management.
The University of Évora thus aims to assist the promoter (OLIVUM) with its technical contribution and transferring existing knowledge and, if necessary, producing knowledge base.