Revista Egitania Sciencia - Volume 20 | ARTICLE


Author: Paula Sofia Alves do Cabo ( ***, Alda Maria Vieira Matos ( ****, António José Gonçalves Fernandes ( *, Maria Isabel Barreiro Ribeiro ( **

Publication: Revista Egitania Sciencia - Volume 20

Organic farming is an activity with high potential, more and more seen as an opportunity for the Portuguese agricultural sector. Olive cultivation is the crop with the greatest deployment in organic farming. However, in spite of its historical importance, in the last decade, the area occupied by olive orchards has decreased, the domestic market of organic olive oil is still small and the decrease in prices affects the sector's attractiveness. This study aims to contribute to the development of organic olive cultivation in Portugal. To this end, it analyzes the farming and consumption of organic olive oil, based on statistical data and primary information, obtained through a questionnaire applied to a non-probabilistic sample of potential consumers living in the city of Bragança. Organic farming currently represents about 6% of the agricultural area, and in 2014, organic olive orchards occupied around 19,000 hectares, spread over 1,400 producers. Alentejo is the main production region of organic olive oil (44% of the occupied area and 25% of farmers) while the Trás-os- Montes region has the largest number of operators (32% of the area and 39% of farmers). In the last decade, the area occupied by organic olive orchards decreased approximately 16%, in spite of the extraordinary growth of the number of operators (around 84%). The analysis of consumption indicates that there is still great potential for growth for this kind of product. The results reveal that the majority of respondents are not consumers of organic olive oil, although most of them intend to become one in the future. Additionally, the overwhelming majority (84.2%) believe that demand for this product would increase if the price were lower. The consumer behaviour study also shows that the health factor outweighs the ecological factor. Thus, in communication with the consumer, producers involved in the sector should bet on the health benefits of consumption of this product and the development of increased environmental awareness of consumers.

Keywords: Olive oil, Organic farming, Production, Consumption

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