The Regulatory Council of Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) of Manzanilla and Gordal Olives in Seville and the University of Seville (US) have presented the results of three academic studies about the Sevillian table olives they made together.
The first of these projects, with the title “Continuity in the Sevillian table olive sector: looking to the past to face the future”, re-established throughout the century the olive fruit trade across the Guadalquivir River.
The data studied an “impressive flow” of the millions of annual kilos of olives that leave the facilities of the port of Seville for foreign destinations.
The first product was in 1933
Specifically, based on information preserved in the Historical Archives of the Port of Seville and the Chamber of Commerce of Seville, the historical series of Sevillian table olive shipments throughout the Guadalquivir for a century has been reconstructed: 1891–1991. The data confirms the great relevance of this product for the commercial activity of the Port of Seville and for the life of the city. Therefore, in 1933, it became the first product in terms of the number of departures from the port, and in 1946, it constituted 29.9% of the total departures.
Despite the irregularities, mainly from war conflicts, political situations, and meteorological conditions, the general trend of the table olive trade throughout the Guadalquivir grew steadily until the 1960s. At this time, it reached its maximum, with 95 million kilos per year.
Which is supposed to be, exactly, the starting point of the port’s olive trade began to decline significantly: the rapid development of land transport, which began to be faster and cheaper, as well as the development of the Port of Algeciras, which “grabbed” many about the activity from the Port of Seville, are the reasons.
According to the study of the university, the sale of the United States was, for decades, the economic engine of the sector of Seville. In fact, as detailed by the IGP, in the first half of the 20th century, specific ships were assembled to transport olives to American ports, from the port of New York to the Port of Seville, so-called precisely because it is one of the main destinations.
Safety in the sector
Another of the studies carried out by the University of Seville and the PGI Aceitunas Manzanilla y Gordal put on the table the challenges faced by the sector for its sustainability. Economic pressure due to rising production costs, competition from more profitable varieties, and the reduction of cultivation area, in addition to water scarcity, require “urgent adaptations” to guarantee the sustainability of these crops in history. From the IGP, they are committed to the differentiation and valorization of the traditional varieties of the Sevillian countryside.