Challenging Sustainability in Olive Farming

In the past decade, the number of small-scale olive farmers in Italy has drastically decreased. According to statistical surveys, approximately one-third of Italy's olive farmers, totaling about 300,000 households, were forced out of business between 2010 and 2020.

The high-quality olive oil, valued for its health benefits since ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean region, is now on the brink of extinction.

Shining a light on the escalating issues surrounding olive oil production, including environmental factors, climate change, and structural challenges in the industry, there is a sincere desire to address the sustainability of farmers. With this intention, a project named "Lo Sfidante," meaning "The Challenger" in Italian, has been launched.


Encountering the Real Deal Olive Oil

My first encounter with "real deal" olive oil was during my trip to Italy in the fall of 2022. Invited to a friend's home, the flavor of the olive oil served with bread during dinner left a strong impression. The fresh aroma and distinctive spiciness spread rapidly in my mouth, and I vividly remember being amazed, thinking, "This tastes completely different from the olive oil I know!" Explained by my Italian friend, I learned about the significant health benefits of consuming high-quality olive oil and the increasing rarity of genuine products.

Engaging in discussions about olive cultivation, I was introduced to local olive farmers. I have created multiple opportunities to directly hear from them about the current state of their businesses.


Unveiling the Challenges

Through visits to olive farms and oil production facilities recommended by friends and continued learning through interactions with experts, challenges within the olive oil industry gradually became apparent.

High-quality olive oil classified as "extra virgin" adheres to standards set by each country. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of products in the market fails to meet these standards. Data indicates that only about 10% of products qualify as "extra virgin," requiring consumers to possess a certain level of knowledge to select and purchase genuinely high-quality olive oil.

In this context, small-scale farmers dedicated to producing high-quality olive oil find themselves caught in price competition, leading to financial losses and, inevitably, the closure of their businesses. Adding to the adversity, major olive-producing countries have experienced consecutive years of record-low yields due to recent global warming.

Olive Farmers Embracing the Challenge of Sustainability

The initial goal is to not only impart knowledge on how to choose "real deal" olive oil but also to allow as many people as possible to experience its taste, incorporating it seamlessly into their daily diets for improved health. Preparations are underway for information dissemination and the import and sale of olive oil.

To establish a sustainable business model, the focus is on community building and the development of an ecosystem incorporating new technologies. Seeking collaboration through One Global, I aim to advance the project using NFTs and AI technologies.

My challenge towards creating a world where anyone can easily choose safe, high-quality olive oil, supporting the relentless efforts of producers for a healthy lifestyle, has only just begun.

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