ARTOLIO partner Ehud Soriano, from Israel: "I can say I am surprised with how much progress we made with most olive farmers of the project.”
The ARTOLIO project has two perspectives, two different goals. Firstly, to assist and give the farmers and millers tools to produce a higher quality extra virgin olive oil. Secondly, to help them grasp a better economic understanding of how the market works. It is for these intents and purposes that the project counts with a variety of partners, all of them specialized in different aspects of these two spectrums.
Ehud Soriano, olive oil consultant and ARTOLIO partner, works as an agronomy supervisor in the Israel region. His job involves coming up with strategies for the next months in order to solve the issues and challenges regarding each one of farmers and millers in the production process. One of the first they worked on, going back to training sessions in the beginning of the project, was to create a common language between them, so they could always understand what they were referring to when working as a team. This way it was easy for him to deliver them their tasks for each period of the year, and it was easier for the group to discuss the problems and solutions that occurred along the way.
“As a head partner of agronomy in Israel, I worked in two directions, according to the original ARTOLIO proposal: delivering concentrated training days on different topics regarding olive oil cultivation, production, storage and quality, and spending time with each farmer on a weekly basis to ensure they are applying and following the guidelines we discussed and agreed upon.” Adds Ehud, when asked about his participation in the project and his involvement with the farmers. Overall, there has been a huge development in all areas, regarding the professionality of the farmers, their understanding of the olive oil they're producing and the virtues their extra virgin olive oil has in the market. “This is of course not different in the area I supervise, with farmers making an astonishing step forward. Actually, I can say I am surprised with how much progress we made with most farmers of the project.”
To ensure this development, Ehud took part and organized many events, two of them especially remarkable because of the impact they had on many other farmers in the area. Fistly, the creation of "10 amendments" of extra virgin olive oil cultivation, focusing on Integrated Crop Management, to reduce the usage of herbicides and pesticides, sow cover crops to prevent land erosion, and in general to encourage the farmers to be more involved in the actions the take in their olive groves. Secondly, the creation of "10 amendments" to olive oil quality in the mill and storage, allowing the farmers a better understanding of what happens to the olives after harvesting and encouraging a more responsible involvement with their olive oil quality during the whole year.
Ehud belongs to the initial team that wrote the first ARTOLIO proposal, and he is currently happy with the process made so far. “For me it was an opportunity I long waited for to make the expected impact I wanted to make; to change the way of thinking and showcasing the small-scale olive oil plots around the Mediterranean, showing the farmers the jewels and diamond they have in their groves, and assisting them getting the most out of it.”