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Economic aspect olive-growing and oil production in the Nebrodi rural areas

  • Autori: Donia, E; Sgroi, F; Tudisca, S
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2010
  • Tipologia: Capitolo o Saggio (Capitolo o saggio)
  • Parole Chiave: Competitività, olivicoltura
  • OA Link:


Olive trees have characterized the Mediterranean landscape for thousands of years. Their cultivation originated in eastern Mediterranean countries - known as ''fertile crescent'' -where oil production and trade became one of the main economic resources for the regions and peoples of the time. In fact, thanks to the work of Myceneans, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, olives came to be one of the major agricultural crops in the Mediterranean. With a value of 2,4 billion Euros (average of the years 2005-08), over 85% of Italian olive production is developed in the regions of southern Italy. In these regions, less encouraged by economic development, the olive and oil sector plays a fundamental social and economic role, generating a high demand for working days every year. In addition, olive-growing is an important source of income for many peasant families in several areas of Calabria, Apulia and Sicily, if not the only work opportunity for many farmers. Moreover, olive oil is a key healthy ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. In addition to these significant economic and health aspects, olive-growing also performs irreplaceable functions of protection of the environment, landscape and agricultural ecosystem. However, in spite of playing such a crucial role, Italian olive-growing has had to face stiffer competition over the last few years, especially in Sicily; this moment of crisis is mainly due to the higher competitiveness of the olive oil produced in other EU and non-EU countries. In the era of globalisation, the problems related to the protection and development of rural areas are extremely relevant: to valorise and protect the agricultural landscape and promote eco-sustainable agriculture - encouraging local products at the same time - are not only economic and social needs but also cultural and environmental necessities. The present investigation has been carried out within this context, in order to assess the competitiveness of olive growers and oil producers in the Nebrodi area, where the a significant part of the olive-growing of the province of Messina is located. In particular, the research has analysed a sample of olive-growers, properly selected in order to measure their profitability and the strategies which they adopt to be competitive in an increasingly globalised market. Finally, the investigation has made it possible to reveal the challenges and opportunities of olive-growing, which is particularly inclined to promote multifunctional agriculture in order to improve rural development in the Nebrodi area.