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The Department of Agriculture, an ambassador for Greek olive oil and a carrier of know-how transfer to China

From 9 to 16 December 2023, two professors from the Department of Agriculture of the Hellenic Mediterranean University (HMU) and the AROGOS AIM group had a unique opportunity to promote the excellent quality of Greek olive oil and also to transfer the know-how of olive cultivation. HQ OIL ( HMU members Prof. Filippos Ververidis (Coordinator of the Collaborative Formation of Innovation of the same name (SSK-AIM-HQ OIL) and Director of the Laboratory of Biological and Biotechnological Applications (EBBE)) and Asst. Prof. Emmanuel Kambourakis (Director of the Olive Farming and Agroecological Production Systems Laboratory (ESAP), started a collaboration with the “Olive Industry Development Office” in the olive producing area of Wudu, Longnan Province, Gansu State, China. HMU Professors participate in a pan-Hellenic effort, coordinated by the Agricultural University of Athens (GAA), to highlight the high quality of Greek olive products. In this context, they visited the Chinese Province of Longnan, at the invitation of the Chinese olive producer organization. There they presented the innovation of Cluster AIM-HQ OIL, in terms of highlighting the quality of Hellenic Ltd. and transferred know-how to the local agronomists/foresters and olive producers through seminars on the olive tree pruning methodology and the correct process of organoleptic assessment of olive oil quality.

The Longnan region is a leading producer of olive oil in China. The planting of the area concerns various varieties (Spanish, Italian and Greek) with a prominent position of the Greek variety “Koroneiki”. In 2005, commercial production of Chinese olive oil began in the Longnan region and recently (2021) the olive products of this region obtained the protection of local geographical indication products. For this reason, Longnan Province receives intense investment activity in olive cultivation. However, domestic olive oil production in China covers only 10-15% of consumption needs. The remaining 90% is covered by imported, mainly Spanish standardized product (in 70% of the remaining needs) and as imported Italian (in the remaining percentage). The quality Greek standard product is almost negligible. However, given China’s shift to quality food and the size of its consumption potential, it is considered that there is a huge scope for Greek olive oil to enter the Chinese market.

During the visit to Longnan Province in China, the Professors of the Department of Agriculture carried out the following actions:

1. Presentation of the structure and operation of the collaborative innovation cooperative AIM-HQ OIL, at the scientific day “Academic exhibition and meeting to promote the work of the Innovation Consortium of the Longnan Olive Industry” with a speech by Prof. F. Ververidis entitled: “Olive oil and the added value chain between science and modern technology – Entrepreneurial Cluster A.I.M.-H.Q. OIL”. The conference was attended by the Mayor of Longnan and other prominent officials of local agencies in the province, Gansu State as well as scientists from Lanzou University. The objective of the invitation and the corresponding theme of this conference was the public presentation and signing of an agreement to create a local business Cluster / Cooperative Formation between the Group of Prof. Duolong Di (Chemistry & Physics Institution) of Lanzou University for the isolation and further utilization of the bioactive components of the waste of industrial Olive Mills of the Longnan area and their use in cosmetology products. The drafting and signing, as soon as possible, of a memorandum of cooperation between ELMEPA and the “Olive Industry Development Organization Office”, Wudu District, Longnan City in China, was jointly discussed.

2. Seminar on scientific pruning of olive trees to Chinese scientists and farmers. This educational visit aimed to help the average Chinese olive oil producer, presser and trafficker of the Longnan region, covering the need for advice and demonstration of the correct use of appropriate pruning for optimal crop nutrition and irrigation. The seminar was conducted by Asst. Prof. Emm. Kambourakis.

3. Organoleptic evaluation seminar for Chinese scientists. This educational activity aimed to help the local olive press and olive oil distributor of the Longnan area to be able to compare and recognize the high quality of Hellenic EPE in terms of the overall organoleptic characteristics of the varieties of Chinese olive oils. The activity was carried out by Prof. Philippos Berberidi with a demonstration of Cretan standardized olive products. In this presentation, a parallel reference was made to the Greek history and mythology of Greek olive oil as well as the promotion of the tourism quality of the Region of Crete.

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