Introducing innovative solutions for sustainable olive cultivation: A conversation with Alessandro Spada

In a recent interview, Alessandro Spada, the coordinator of ARPO, the producers’ association representing olive growers in the Emilia Romagna region, shed light on the pivotal role of the NOVATERRA project in revolutionising olive cultivation practices. With approximately one thousand members under its wing, ARPO is dedicated to championing sustainable methods in olive production.

The central focus of today’s discussion revolves around olive growing and the pressing need to address environmental concerns, particularly regarding the reduction of phytosanitary treatments. Spada emphasises the critical importance of this issue, citing the recent shift towards more targeted and reduced pesticide usage within the association’s cultivation systems.

The NOVATERRA project, a beacon of innovation in sustainable agriculture, aligns seamlessly with ARPO’s objectives. By facilitating the implementation of novel control strategies, this European initiative provides invaluable insights derived from diverse territories and cultivation conditions. Spada underscores the significance of such collaborative efforts in navigating the evolving landscape of plant protection regulations at the European level.

In addition to pesticide reduction, Spada highlights another pressing challenge faced by olive growers: soil management. With fertility levels dwindling due to low organic matter content, effective soil management emerges as a crucial aspect of sustainable agriculture. The NOVATERRA project’s comprehensive approach encompasses this vital component, offering promising prospects for optimising soil health in tandem with pest management strategies.

By amalgamating data from research conducted in these key areas, Spada envisions a future where olive cultivation achieves a balance between environmental sustainability and enhanced production performance. With a shared commitment to mitigating the environmental impact of olive growing while bolstering both quantity and quality, collaborations like the NOVATERRA project pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future in the realm of agriculture.