İzmir Commodity Exchange (ICE) organized an Olive Festival for the first time upon the declaration of November 26th as the World Olive Day by the International Olive Council in order to emphasize the importance of olives and olive oil in the world. Many representatives from various chambers and commodity exchanges, business people and politicians attended the opening ceremony of the festival, which took place in the Assembly Meeting Hall of the ICE.
Having made the opening speech of the festival, Mrs. Işınsu Kestelli, the ICE chairperson, said, "The olive tree is one of the greatest riches bestowed on this land. It shoots and revives from its own root even if it rots and dies. That is why it is immortal, it is the tree of life. It is the symbol of health and wellness with its fruit.
I can clearly say that as Turkey we are very lucky in terms of olive and olive oil sectors and we are also in a good position although we still have some shortcomings. With the policies pursued in the field of olive cultivation, our tree assets increased by 65 percent in the last 15 years. We are one of the most important olive producers in the world with more than 160 million trees and over one and a half million tons of olive production.
A great amount of our olive oil exports is carried out from our province. With this privileged position, İzmir deserves to be the capital of olive and olive oil industry and host the Olive Festival, which we hold for the first time in our Exchange today."
Having stated that they opened Olive and Olive Oil Tasting Room in July this year following the long-term panellist trainings carried out in cooperation with the Olive Cultivation Research Institute, Mrs. Kestelli added, "As İzmir Commodity Exchange, we prioritize education and science at every step we take. We believe that the only way for the Turkish agriculture to advance in international competition is through wisdom and planning. We invest in the future with every action we take. Today, we hold the first Olive Festival within the framework of this understanding."
Noting that she believed the Festival would turn into a carnival in the coming years, Mrs. Kestelli said, "I wish this Olive Festival contributes to the development of olive and olive oil sectors of our country. We are holding this event with the contribution of the International Olive Council, which has declared November 26th as the World Olive Day and we are a member of. Within the scope of the World Olive Day, I would like to share with you the message of Mr. Abdellatif Ghedira, Executive Director of the International Olive Council: "Since its creation in 1959, the International Olive Council has regulated the olive-growing sector and worked towards defining and elaborating norms and standards of quality in the international trade of olive oils and table olives. We work for the good of the sector at all stages of the production chain, from the first farmer to the final consumer. Today, we move onto a new phase in our development that brings us to answer the question so often brought to us: why the IOC?"
Having mentioned that the IOC, aside from its role of safeguarding quality and standards, was above all a hotbed of over a thousand specialists and experts in the field of olive-growing, Mrs. Kestelli continued, "Researchers, engineers, economists, chemists, tasters, nutritionists, statisticians… all engage with the science as one through the forum that is the IOC, in the planned meetings and the over 150 laboratories officially recognised by us around the world. For this reason, the IOC constitutes a unique scientific forum for the internationally renowned olive-growing sector. It interacts with a range of institutions, both in the private sector, through the Advisory Committee on Olive Oils and Table Olives, and in the regional and international organisations dedicated to implementing activities for mutual interest and benefit. According to official statistics, world production of olive oil has increased by half in 20 years, with a tipping point occurring over the past 10 years and a demand that continues to drive supply. Consumption has doubled in new countries, to the detriment of demand in traditional consumer countries. This trend just goes to show the lasting interest this noble product arouses, not only for the dietary benefits for the consumer, but also for the socio-economic and environmental benefits for the producer."
After the protocol speeches, olive and olive oil panel was held. In the festival, where different presentations about the recent developments in olive cultivation, the importance of the sectors of olive and olive oil, the relationship between olive oil and gastronomy, and the significance of olive and olive oil throughout the history were made, the largest olive fruit contest and its awarding ceremony were also held. Following the olive oil season's opening, the participants received brief information on olive and olive oil sensory analysis, and participated in the olive and extra virgin olive oil tasting event.
LARGEST OLIVES WERE AWARDED
After the speeches about the olive and olive oil sectors at the 1st Olive Festival in İzmir, the winners of the largest olive fruit contest were awarded. Yavuzbey Farm was awarded the first place with the "palamut" olive of 21.54 grams while Bayram Yataz won the other prize for a variety of 15.83 grams. In the awarding ceremony, where the winners were awarded for 4 different varieties, Oğuz Çoban got the first place with a Gemlik variety of 8.04 grams while Levent Korukoğlu took the first place with the olive fruit that weighed 7.49 grams. After the awarding ceremony of the largest olive fruit contest, the ICE chairperson Mrs. Kestelli and the accompanying delegation cracked olives with hammers as the symbol of the olive oil season opening.