Olig+: fine tuning protection strategies against olive flies

Introducing “Olivo in Liguria: innovating low-impact strategies, techniques and processing methods aimed at the quantitative-qualitative increase in production” (acronym: Olig+).

The newly launched “Olig+” cooperation project funded by Regione Liguria targets the quantitative-qualitative improvement of Ligurian olive production both in integrated and in organic farming contexts.  The objective is the development and fine tuning of innovative phytosanitary protection, especially against Bactrocera oleae, a.k.a. the olive fruit fly, the most dangerous of threats.

The non-renewal of approval of dimethoate-based insecticides – the most widely used phytosanitary used against olive fruit flies – calls for new strategies to guarantee a safe food product and its quality.

“The best evidence of the strong commitment of the PDO Riviera Ligure EVO Protection Consortium is represented by its staffs and instruments, e.g., the Consortium’s experimental olive grove, all employed in the monitoring of the olive fruit fly and the assessment of protection methods, in order to share these results and know-hows with olive growers, the targets of the project” says Carlo Siffredi, the president of the Consortium.

More than mere control: “Olig+” analyses the most recent alterations – probably due to climate changes, too – which causes shrinkage of shoots and a decrease in blooming and effects (more or less intense) on the quality of fruits, fostering harvesting and oil mill processing techniques.

“This a pivotal phase for the sector, displaying the need for environment-friendly instruments fit to meet the needs of top-quality production as well as consumers’ safety. New monitoring and intervention methods will support the use of the lowest quantities of agrochemicals and highest yields” notes Alessandro Piana, Vice President of Regione Liguria and Assessore all’Agricoltura.

“Olig+”, funded by Regione Liguria through RDP measure 16.01 “Aiuti per la costituzione e l’operatività dei gruppi operativi del P.E.I.”, is coordinated by CeRSAA – Azienda Speciale della Camera di Commercio Riviere di Liguria -, and groups the PDO Riviera Ligure EVO Protection Consortium, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa), the Cooperativa Olivicoltori Sestresi and the Società Cooperativa Agricola Le Riunite.

“P.E.I.” stands for “Partenariati Europei per l’Innovazione” (European Partnerships for Innovation): one of the first important European signals previewed by the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, to stimulate collaboration with the R&D and experimentation sectors, for the development of innovation in the fields of production, quality and sustainability.