The Producers’ Organisation (P.O.) – Agricultural Cooperative MesolonghiouNafpaktias “THE UNION” is the product of an initiative taken by the olive producers of the Union
The main activities of the ‘UNION’ include the harvesting, processing and standardisation of almost all basic agricultural products produced in the region, such as Kalamon olives, olive oil, cotton, maize and cereals, and the marketing of agricultural supplies. The Cooperative operates excellent modern facilities for the collection and processing of table olives, with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes, two olive oil mills where 6,000 tonnes of olives are ground each year, olive oil tanks with a capacity of 6,500 tonnes, an olive oil packaging plant and a quality control laboratory.
Recognized by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food as an Operators’ Organization in the Olive Sector, the P.O., financed by own, national and EU funds, actively intervenes on issues relating to the environment and to quality improvement. The main objective of the interventions is to provide substantial support to P.O. members -the olive producers- to reduce the environmental impact of olive cultivation, to enhance the quality of the product and to ensure safety for the final consumer by adopting modern quality and tracking systems.
The P.O., taking a step further, is moving on from the traditional application of an Integrated Management System (I.M.S.) for the Cultivation of Olive Trees to adopt modern technologies and software in order to ensure more comprehensive control of the required inputs and outputs (requirements in irrigation, fertilization, olive fruit fly control, etc.). A significant part of the interventions aim at the broader application of the Codes for Good Agricultural Practice and at keeping a detailed producer performance log in digital format, which allows for the immediate processing of entries οnline, even in remote areas. In this context, olive producers have the opportunity for further training and guidance towards smart technologies.
A total of 930 olive producers currently participate in the I.M.S.
At the same time, in order to ensure the successful transition from traditional olive tree cultivation to modern methods, the P.O. has been working with a team of experts, members of the academia and enterprises, in order to design, develop and implement a number of training programmes with practical demonstration of cultivation practices that have been proved to improve the level of competitiveness of olive tree cultivation. The following thematic modules are noted by way of indication: Fertilization management, soil improvement, pruning techniques, re-use by-products generated on the farm, predators & disease management, harvesting and post-harvest handling, pest management and Carbon Footprint Reduction techniques.
A significant part of the integrated approach to improving the quality and safety of the products involves the expansion, digitization and certification of the Traceability System under ISO 22005:2008 (i.e. tracking the olive fruit from the moment of its production in the field all the way to the final point of sale), and of the Food Safety Management System under ISO 22000:2005, IFS and BRC.
In order to safeguard the quality of the standardised product, the P.O. is improving its mechanical equipment by procuring modern machinery such as a system for the ventilation of tanks to help ferment olive fruit before processing, systems to transport water to and from the tanks, as well as a new tank cleaning system. Apart from procuring the above equipment, the P.O. is also carrying out improvements in the production facilities with the construction of an epoxy floor, improvements to staff restrooms, installation of hygiene panels that meet the specifications of the abovementioned quality systems installed, as well as procurement of modern equipment for its chemical laboratory.
Finally, the P.O.’s new website collects and presents all its activities relating to olive tree cultivation, the enhancement of quality, the traceability and certification of its products, and also provides additional information concerning its organization and products.
The products are exclusively produced in the ‘Aetolian Land’ and are marketed under the brand name Aetolian Land.
- Kalamon olives
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Feeding stuffs