Innovations in Mechanization and Control Systems of Production in Olive Sector

B. Bernardi, F. Giametta, G. Sciarrone

Abstract


The rapid and sweeping changes occurred in the last few years in the world have been crucial driving forces behind the evolution of olive growing practices on a global scale. These drives to change are gradually modifying the traditional olive growing scenarios thanks to the successful advent of a modern mechanized and specialized olive orchard cultivation where resource efficiency improvements and production cost reduction have become mandatory. In particular, the olive growing innovation process is based on a model referred to as “super intensive”, whose main advantage lies in highly-efficient mechanized harvesting operations performed uninterruptedly by means of the same grape harvesters long used to collect grapes. At renewal that affects models cultivation joins the growing attention paid to quality control and food safety are crucial in order to increase the competitiveness of products and improve the level of acceptance of same by consumers. "Traceability" is the key word today on the food scene, presenting as a tool of competitiveness and rationalization of production systems and enhancement of quality productions. The present study is intended to explore both olive growing innovation process and its quality control systems, by a series of tests conducted in Spain and in Italy. The results obtained have shown that super intensive olive orchard cultivation presents clear advantages in terms of abatement of hours of work, which is meant to contain costs and reach appropriate levels of productivity while safeguarding olive quality. It appears also that, in response to growing demands for food security and enhancement of food production, a system of traceability can ensure accuracy and speed of transmission of a guarantee of quality. Keywords: Super intensive olive growing, grape harvesters, traceability, food safety, Italy.

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