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With the 2017 National Olive Industry Conference and Trade Exhibition done and dusted, delegates can look to the next season ahead, equipped with the latest industry insight and research findings.

Around 130 representatives from across the olive industry supply chain gathered at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 10 – 11 October to learn the latest technical information from industry leaders, network and celebrate the achievements of those striving for excellence.

From maximising grove productivity to selling your business story to media, the two-day program offered delegates a variety of relevant topics, with a number of new and old industry players keen to absorb as much information as possible.

Australian Olive Association CEO Greg Seymour felt the conference content was well received and there was a sense of cautious optimism amongst the attendees about the industry.

“A key learning from the conference is the need to be constantly improving to stay in the game,” Mr Seymour said.

“The importance of promoting our product and utilising technology to increase efficiency and productivity was a very clear theme throughout the presentations.”

Delegates got a taste of the work being done to promote Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) usage to the food service sector, through the levy-funded project Olive Oil Food Service Program (OL16004).

Oil producers were advised that they can’t afford to rest on their laurels, with recent findings from the project Australian olive oil code of practice implementation (OL13007) indicating that imported EVOO had improved in quality when measured against The Australian Standard for olive oil (AS5264-2011).

Other R&D projects presented at the conference included an update on the China Project from Chris Mercer and the recently commenced olives communication program, which shared insight into the communication preferences of the industry and new resources available for growers and processors to keep up-to-date with the latest R&D.

The conference also included an evening function, the Australian International Olive Awards Presentation Dinner, to recognise and celebrate the growers striving to produce high quality product.

“This year was the inaugural Australian International Olive Awards. This new competition is a way for all Australian producers to compete against the best on the international stage without the extra hassle of having to enter competitions offshore.” explained Mr Seymour.

“There were an astounding 194 medals awarded in total including 49 gold (17 awarded in 2016), 85 silver (47 awarded in 2016) and 60 bronze medals (77 awarded in 2016).

“The large increase in medals is a very positive sign as it reflects the increase in production quality being achieved across the industry: the new benchmark in this competition is now set at medium to high silver where in the past it has been a bronze.

“It is exciting to see the industry working well to produce better quality oil and striving for excellence.”