Current levy-funded activity for the olive industry has a focus on implementation of the Australian Olive Association’s Code of Practice, with some key export work recently wrapping up. Read more in the R&D snapshot below.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

The olive Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) convened for the second time back in August, with plans to meet again in early 2017. Meeting summaries will continue to be available on Hort Innovation’s Olive grower page.

The selection process for appointing an independent chair for the SIAP has also recently been completed, with information on the chair to be made available on the grower page shortly.

The Strategic Investment Plan

A Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) is the roadmap that helps ensure levy investment decisions align with individual industry priorities. It is used to guide decision-making in levy spending, and represents a balanced view of stakeholders in the industry.

Hort Innovation is currently consulting with growers and other industry stakeholders to finalise new SIPs for each industry by the end of the calendar year.

To learn more about the SIP process, visit Hort Innovation’s SIP Portal.

Any questions?

As well as the Olive grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Management Lead Will Gordon is always available to answer questions on the olive program.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Essential work to facilitate increased exports to China, removing roadblocks and enhancing competitive advantage (OL14003)

Status: Completed project

What was it all about? With the goal of increasing exports of high-quality Australian olive oil into China, this project began at the start of 2015 and had a number of key deliverables and outcomes. Some of these are listed below.

  • The Olive Industry Export Handbook was developed to encourage and support the industry to meet the required standards for gaining access into China, as described in the last edition of Hortlink (Winter 2016). To order a copy, email Will Gordon at Hort Innovation.
  • The Export Code of Practice was developed as an essential tool for assuring quality to China and other markets.
  • An Export Workbook was developed to accompany the industry’s export handbook for use in training workshops, and training was undertaken by a group of olive oil producers seeking to export to China.
  • A ‘producer roadshow’ was delivered in six locations across the country to assist with the preparation of the handbook and the code of practice (the export certification platform).
  • Consumer research was undertaken in China to validate and inform the potential demand for Australian extra virgin olive oil.
  • Key partner technologies were identified to assist in protecting olive oil in the export process and that will provide assurance of authenticity to Chinese consumers.

Further details can be found in the project’s final report, which will be available to order at http://horticulture.com.au/about/resources-publications-final-reports (final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies).


olive-export-handbook


 

Australian olive oil code of practice implementation (OL13007)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance consumer confidence in Australian olive products by:

  • Providing a formal mechanism for certification of Australian olive products in both domestic and export markets (including the registration of certification trademarks for olive products)
  • Supporting and monitoring industry compliance with the Australian Standard for olive oil (AS5264‐2011), the ANZFA Food Standards Code, and Australian Consumer Law, through undertaking regular national market surveys
  • Building olive industry skills and capacity through training programs.

The project has supported above project OL14003, and will continue through to 2017.

What’s the latest update? Over its life the project will develop six training modules for olive producers to build skills and facilitate implementation of the Australian Olive Association’s Code of Practice.

  • To date the first two modules have been implemented, with four online interactive presentations introducing participants to the Code of Practice and guiding them through the preparation of a food safety/quality plan.
  • Two further modules have a focus on export market development, export logistics, export documentation and export regulatory requirements.
  • The final two modules are currently under development, and will focus on table olive quality processes, and olive oil and table olive sensory assessment.

For access to available modules online, participants can register with Gill Ireland at River Murray. With a username and password from Gill, participants can then log on to the website that hosts the training program, http://www.r-m-t-online.com/. The site also features workbooks and other support documents.

Eight olive industry enterprise trainers have also been trained to build industry capacity to deliver Code of Practice training modules to olive producers in collaboration with state and regional industry associations.

In regards to monitoring compliance, the project’s second round of market testing for the 2015/16 period saw testing of 51 Australian and imported olive oil products labelled as extra virgin olive oil. The Code Administrator also reviewed 389 test results for all market survey samples purchased between September 2011 and November 2015 (50 months). Market survey test results are available on the Australian Olive Association website here.

GROWER PROFILE

JAYNE BENTIVOGLIO, RYLSTONE OLIVE PRESS, NSW

Health backgrounds inspired Jayne Bentivoglio and her husband, Peter, to launch Rylstone Olive Press extra virgin olive oil in 1998.

“My husband is a doctor and neurosurgeon and I was a nurse, so we saw too many stokes, too many brain haemorrhages, too much high cholesterol. We wanted to help reduce the world’s cholesterol and we thought the best way to do that was to grow olives and produce some of Australia’s best olive oil.”

Jayne said a diet including good extra virgin olive oil can lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) by bumping up ‘good’ cholesterol. “There are so many wonderful health benefits that come from extra virgin olive oil.”

Peter’s family arrived in Sydney from Torino in Italy, in 1898. “So it was virtually 100 years to the month that we planted our trees at Rylstone. As Peter’s family came from Italy, we were always very pro the Mediterranean diet.”

The couple chose Rylstone because their land was 750 metres above sea level. “It’s got a bit of that Tuscan landscape and lovely granite soil, coarse sand loam and a few clay ribbons where we don’t plant. We have a nice winter rainfall and we do get some thunderous showers through the summertime, as well as our share of drought.”

As well as Spanish and Italian olive varieties, Jayne and Peter planted Israeli variety Barnea, because their property in the Mudgee region has the same latitude as Israel. “It’s a wonderful olive and it blends really well with the other oils,” Jayne said.

Jayne is responsible for olive production, processing, and blending of the extra virgin olive oils, as well as the marketing at Rylstone. “Like lots of other olive growers I have many caps, but the important thing I believe in is balance and harmony in the extra virgin olive oil. This way, whichever Rylstone product customers want to use – whether it be a mother cooking for the family at home or a restaurant chef – they are happy with how it pairs with the dishes they’re creating. We don’t want it to take away from anything they’re planning to do and they have the added knowledge that they are contributing to a health-giving meal.”

Jayne and Peter’s Rylstone Olive Press extra virgin olive oil blends include the Murray Darling blend, the Murrumbidgee blend, the Cudgegong and the Crooked River blend, named after Jayne’s family’s winery. The couple’s signature blend, the Rylstone Cudgegong, has consistently taken out domestic and international awards since 2004.

As well as producing their own olive oil on site, Jayne and Peter are happy to see other growers making use of Rylstone Olive Press. “A number of small growers from the Central and Southern Tablelands of New South Wales come to us to make their olive oil,” she said.

As far as managing the land, Jayne said she would like to experiment with the use of drones for integrated pest management and tree management.

“They’re using drones with grapes and in a lot of other farming areas now. Monitoring is vital with pest and disease management, and I see an advantage with using drones.”

Jayne also described Australia’s climate as a great ongoing project. “Every year we’re confronted by new issues in olive production and the processing of extra virgin olive oil.”

On their land, Jayne and Peter haven’t planted their trees intensively. “I believe there’s only a certain amount of moisture in the soil and rain from the sky to go around. There are also only so many nutrients you can put on the trees without changing the growth of the olive and disturbing the percentage of oil yield and the high quality of the oil.”

Jayne said the mining sector had made it harder to find employees for the agricultural industry. “When the mining people leave, the fellows from the mines are used to being paid extraordinarily well and they don’t want to come back to $23 or $25 an hour.”

The cost of freight in Australia was a further challenge. “Freight kills us in Australia. We ship from Rylstone to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and the costs are just outrageous compared to other countries.”

Jayne said the olive industry would benefit from a consumer education campaign to drive home the ‘buy local’ message. “We really need people to buy local and support the Australian farmers first. Consumers should be buying home-grown and processed Australian extra virgin olive oils before buying any imported olive oils.”

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