Italy’s history of olive oil production is at least two millenniums old. It has been made since time immemorial, and as the centuries rolled by, the darker ages followed by times of peace and enlightenment, the farmers continued to work in the groves and mills, always striving to make a healthy and tasty product.
Despite the near-iconic status of Italian oil, this is no time to rest on our laurels: instead, we must think about the future and what efforts we can make to boost this sector.
In this respect, we should keep in mind a charter that, though drafted in 2011, is more relevant than ever: nothing that can help the extra virgin olive oil sector in our country is too little or negligible.
The author of these “Ten Commandments” is oil-specialist Mr. Luigi Caricato, Director of Olio Officina Globe and creator of the Olio Officina Festival, an extremely popular event, the next edition of which will take place from January 21 to 23. Caricato presented his “New Beginning” in Verona, at the celebrated Vinitaly exhibition, together with Antonio Boschetti, the director of L’Informatore Agrario, the most popular Italian magazine on farming, and various representatives of the olive oil sector.
A NEW BEGINNING
1. More trees, because we cannot forsake all plans for the future
Italy is the only oil-producing country that is not planting new olive trees. No investments are made on new groves, but instead, all efforts are aimed at preserving and managing pre-existing ones.
2. Less fear, because we need to invest more, even using our own resources
Italy’s greatest evil is its inability to react: decades of public funding and financing have only served to reduce all spirit of enterprise.
3. A greater number of free people, because there are no longer independent entrepreneurs
Italy has lost the tenacious character that was a hallmark of its past: no one takes any responsibility, accepts new challenges or strives after fortune and glory.
4. Less red tape, because whoever wants to work cannot encounter so many hurdles
Italy is characterized by a bulimic legislation that often, has no connection with the real world, as in the case of olive oil production. Authorities spend many words on endorsing this sector, but then bureaucracy dampens all the efforts made by the entrepreneurs.
5. More private investments in research, because the State cannot be the sole financer
Despite its lavish past, Italy is no longer capable of funding and supporting research. Private enterprises should follow the example of other countries, and invest more in research, to the benefit of the entire sector.
6. Less bickering, it is time to bring these never-ending clashes to a halt
Italy stands out among all other countries for the constant bickering and never-ending clashes between the different parties and authorities: they are incapable of uniting for the common good, and are digging Italy’s grave.
7. More women, for it is unacceptable that they have no say in this sector
The importance of women in the oil sector should be obvious to all, but in Italy too few of them currently occupy any key role.
8. Less niche production, because our horizons cannot be restricted
Since we live in a country that gives little importance to sales, marketing and communication strategies, we should widen our horizons, and not only target our production at the top-notch niche markets.
9. More ideas, because the oil sector should never inhibit creativeness and inventiveness
Italy has many talented people who could contribute greatly to the sector with their intuitions and innovative spirit, but those in power have a scarce propensity to welcome their ideas and endorse them.
10. Less ideology, because the oil sector needs a more critical conscience
Investing in culture, training and education is the only road to self-determination. Failing to do so will only promote feelings of self-pity and self-absolution.