16 Apr The evolution of Brazil
By Gabriel Tarquinio Bertozzi
Brazil is making its way in the world of olive growing by expanding its horizons nationwide. Many new olive oil brands are growing especially in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Espirito Santo, and Santa Catarina.
Admittedly, production is still in the development phase and no more than 30 mills scattered around the country are operational. But the olive sector is on the rise and is already proving its worth by presenting high quality oils, which have won awards in several international competitions. Quality does not seem to be an obstacle but, on the contrary, is a stimulus for this new sector of Brazilian agribusiness.
A very interesting aspect to highlight is that, although very young in the difficult international olive-growing scene, Brazil already has machinery for the extraction of 100 per cent national olive oil, offering a technology that is attractive to traditional producers.
The system was developed and manufactured by the company FAST Tecnologia Industrial. The system has worked so well that the company is already planning an expansion into Portugal.
The Brazilian challenge
This is certainly one of the positive aspects when implementing a new market segment. There are many challenges, but on the other hand there is a boost generated by the difficulties and opportunities.
From an agronomic point of view, we still have a lot to discover. Brazilian olive growing has certainly validated quality, but it needs to gain efficiency. It is therefore necessary to carry out ‘edaphoclimatic zonation’ (geographical areas with homogeneous climatic and soil characteristics) to define new frontiers, especially to identify areas where super-intensive cultivation models can be implemented.
The varietal study therefore becomes one of the priority aspects to be taken into consideration when choosing the olive cultivars that are best suited to the specific climatic conditions of the area. I refer in particular to thermoperiod (annual, daily and aperiodic variation of air temperature) and abundant rainfall.
Maria da Fé
The EPAMIG Experimental Station in Maria da Fé is the Brazilian reference point in the management of olive-growing aspects. There is in fact a collection of olive varieties with interesting potential for the conservation, study and utilisation of this genetic heritage. There is also a need for work that takes into consideration not only the phytosanitary aspects, but at the same time activates specific lines of research also for future in vitro multiplication of the varieties. The objective is to replicate this collection in other parts of Brazil in order to conserve and study the genetic variability present in the collection in other areas.
For now, the entrepreneurial spirit of Brazilian producers follows, year after year, the effort to achieve better results given the challenge of implementing tropical olive growing. It is a fact that the effort is great. But perseverance and dedication far outweigh the setbacks faced.
Finally, every beginning has its obstacles along the way. Every activity is guided by the laurels of the pioneering spirit. Uncertainties certainly persist along the way. But it is also true that doubt is the best path to certainty.
Brazil is steadfast in its quest for liquid gold, this gift of Athena good for the palate and good for health.
Gabriel Tarquinio Bertozzi
Agronomist Specialist in Olive-growing – Technical and commercial area of olive oil and olive tree cultivation – Head of Novos Negócios e Links
Poços de Caldas, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil