The jury has already deliberated the winning ideas of the XVI AEMO National Competition for the dissemination of olive culture 2018 whose awards will be presented on 17 May, Thursday, at 13.30 in the Assembly Hall of the Olive Community Heritage, within the framework of the Olive Fair of Montoro (Cordoba).

For the first time in its sixteen-year history, the competition has awarded an extraordinary prize to the IFAPA Global Collection of Olive Varieties “Alameda del Obispo”, which currently contains some 900 varieties from 28 countries.

This is the 16th edition of this competition, whose jury, made up of various experts and sponsored by the Interprofesional del Aceite de Orujo de Oliva, ORIVA, agreed on the decision in Cordoba on 20 April.

Also, and due to the very high level of the 12 nominations received, the members of the jury have decided to award an exceptional First Extraordinary Prize, in addition to the awards already regulated in the contest rules: First, Second and Third Prize.

Award Winning Projects

AEMO Extraordinary Prize for the Promotion of the Culture of the Olive Tree 2018, awarded to: The World Collection of Olive Varieties of the “IFAPA Centro Alameda del Obispo” of Córdoba, presented by Angjelina Belaj, responsible for the collection.

The jury valued the size and importance of this project aimed at preserving the genetic heritage of olive tree varieties, which represents a real bridge between the past and the future of world olive growing. In addition, it has considered the high degree of excellence of the project as a scientific work, as well as the purpose for which it was conceived to ensure the future of the more than 900 varieties from 28 countries that currently count on this germplasm bank, which is the most important in the world.

Thus, the objective of this collection, launched in 1970 with an FAO project, is to safeguard, evaluate, document and facilitate the use of all varieties grown worldwide. The Jury has wanted to mention and acknowledge the work of the two previous directors of the collection since its inception, Mr. Juan Caballero and Ms. Carmen del Río. The intense work of spreading and opening up to the public, through days of tasting of the oils and olives produced there or the annual open days to show this olive garden to society, was also appreciated.

Finally, the jury considered it essential to make this gene bank available as a basis for work on improving varieties, the search for resistance to diseases such as Verticilosis or Xylella fastidiosa and the study of varieties adapted to climate change.

For all the above reasons, it has been decided to award this project the First Extraordinary Prize.

First Prize AEMO to the Diffusion of the Culture of the Olive Tree 2018, awarded to: of Oliete (Teruel), presented by José Alfredo Martín Piñas.

The initiative aims to recover the abandoned olive grove of the municipality of Oliete, in Teruel, through the original initiative “sponsor an olive tree”. Thus, since its inception, the project has already recovered 7,200 olive trees in the town.

The jury valued the emotional and romantic nature of the initiative which, in an altruistic way, is reviving the olive grove with all that this entails: revival of economic activity and employment in the region. The project already has more than 2,000 sponsors and has been visited by more than 3,000 people in the last 3 years. The initiative is still open to try to recover, through sponsorship, up to 100,000 olive trees that are currently abandoned.

The jury also assessed how the use of new technologies (web and RRSS) is serving as an awareness-raising tool for the recovery of this ancient olive grove. Tools of the 21st century at the service of the recovery of the roots of our culture. In addition, through this project, a small mill has been set up to grind the olives from the recovered trees and to market the oil under the brand name ‘Mi Olivo’.

Second AEMO Award for the Diffusion of the Culture of the Olive Tree 2018, given to: COLIVAL, for the Culture and Quality of the Olive Oil, from Valdepeñas (Ciudad Real), presented by Consoli Molero, manager of the cooperative.

The jury valued the joint, compact and meaningful project of this Cooperative, which in recent years has advanced unstoppably in search of maximum quality and the transmission of the culture of oil between its members and the inhabitants of the municipality.

Through various actions the cooperative reaches out to children, schools, families, friends, partners, or companies in order to transmit the living culture of olive oil each campaign. In this sense, the set of actions and events throughout the year has been valued, such as the celebration of the 1st Valdepeñas First Oil Fair, the guided tastings, the visits to the oil mill, the open-door policy, the publication of high quality graphic material with illustrative comics for children, or the preparation of a perfectly structured tasting kit with a high didactic character.

Third AEMO prize for the Spreading of the Culture of the Olive Tree 2018, awarded to: Liber Olivarum, The Book of Olives, presented by its author Arturo Esteve.

The jury gave a very positive evaluation of the contents of this book which compiles the path of the olive tree through such varied genres as history, literature, mythology, religious texts, medicine and gastronomy.

Through its pages, it offers an extensive written and illustrated tour of the cultivation of the olive tree and its oil throughout its history, which is deeply dated and is the result of a long and commendable research work reflected in its bibliography. The book is complemented by a collection of images, drawings and photographs, many of them originating from the author himself.

Jury of experts

The Jury of the XVI edition was made up of the following experts:

Cristóbal Lovera, Doctor of Agricultural Engineering and Olive Growing.

Fernando López Segura, internist and expert in olive oil and health.

Salvador Cubero, agricultural engineer and olive grower.

Rafael Jordano, professor at the UCO and director of the Chair of Gastronomy of Andalusia.

Luis Navarro, agricultural engineer and researcher.

Alicia Vives, food and agriculture journalist and manager of ORIVA.

José Mª Penco, director of AEMO, acted as Secretary.

SOURCE: Spanish Association of Olive Tree Municipalities (AEMO)