Premium category food brands are based on top quality ingredients, environmentally sustainable production methods and links to their makers, their place of origin and local people. For both Albania and Greece, table olives sector represents a very significant local product, yet underestimated regarding its potentials. Table olives according to the IOC and the World Bank, constantly increase their international market share during the last years (1991-2015:+173%). At the other hand, table olives become less competitive every year in Greece and Albania due to application of obsolete practices in the orchards, the processing methods and the marketing approaches. Stakeholders of olive products chain (cropping, processing, logistics, marketing, trading and administration) agree that the secret for success in the sector is found in the development and application of cost efficient and environmentally friendly cropping practices, application of quality assurance and traceability systems, standardization and packaging of the final products, and efficient marketing-branding approaches. OLIVE_CULTURE project, -following the available regional RIS priorities- aims to establish a network of expertise exchange which will lead to the application of innovative crop management and efficient trading services for demand-driven capitalization of good practices and scientific knowledge. These goals will be achieved through HUBs for providing training and agribusiness services, integrated management of crop using precision agriculture tools, innovative olive processing methods, support of labelling by providing scientific information regarding nutritional value and environmental impact, provision of marketing consultation and creation of local brands.

The project is expected to enhance the name of the area, promote distinctive characteristics of local table olives, promote cooperative economy structures, motivate local stakeholders and entrepreneurs to be engaged in agriculture and food processing and marketing sectors, to build capacities and gain valuable experience through participation in national and international exhibitions. All these will expand synergies, create cross-border partnerships, attract new investments, act complementary for other local products, enlarge export opportunities and contribute to economic growth (more profits, less unemployment) for the participating areas and beyond.

The project beneficiaries are strong local institutions (public authorities through their business and local production departments; academic institutes and technology transfer centres through their agricultural and information technology RnD structures). Relevant national and international stakeholders will be invited to follow and participate the project’s activities. The project beneficiaries have participated in successfully completed GR-AL cooperation projects, a fact that guarantees the effective management and the results oriented character of OLIVE_CULTURE.