SUSTAINOLIVE : Novel approaches to promote the SUSTAInability of OLIVE groves in the Mediterranean

Project identifier 153-SUSTAINOLIVE
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-09-01
End date 2022-08-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Ecological intensification approaches
  • Sustainable intensification: Identification and breeding of animals and crops to maintain/increase productivity
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Development and innovation oriented (research) project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword olive oil; healthy food; sustainable agriculture; mixed crops
    Location Spain; Greece; Italy; Tunisia; Morocco; Portugal
    Budget 1 913 450
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator Jaen University
  • University of Abdelmalek Essaâdi
  • University of Bologna
  • Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria (UNIRC)
  • University of Granada
  • University of Evora
  • Pablo Olavide University
  • University of Parma (UNIPR)
  • Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB)
  • Coopérative Oumnia Bellota (COB)
  • Agricultural Cooperative of Kalamata (ACK)
  • Agricultural women’s cooperative Zaouia
  • Centre for the Study and Promotion of Alentejo Olive Oil (CEPAAL)
  • Esporao
  • CRDOP Estepa
  • NILEAS Producers Group Company
  • Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano SCRL (UNAPROL)
  • Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER (ELGO)
  • Andalusian Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (IFAPA)
  • Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA)
  • Olive Institute
  • Tekieroverde TKV
  • Project Web Site
    Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018



    Olive grove cultivation is a key socio-economic asset, and is the dominant landscape, for a large fraction of the Mediterranean rural regions. Addition-ally, the olive oil sector represents an important source of healthy food and is highly appreciated worldwide, designated as UNESCO Intangible cultural heritage, becoming an imprint for Southern European and Mediterrane-an countries. Increased olive oil demand has acted as a catalyst for the intensification and expansion of olive groves. The intensification of low-in-put traditional olive groves implies systematic use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with more aggressive weed control and soil management practices. Such intensification has resulted in simplified landscapes with olive groves with low-nature-value, driving greater negative environmental impacts such as soil erosion, run-offs to water bodies, soil fertility loss, degradation of habitats, and over-exploitation of water resources.


    The overall objective of SUSTAINOLIVE is to enhance the sustainability of the olive oil farming sector throughout the implementation and promotion of a set of innovative sustainable management solutions that are based on agro-ecological concepts, and on the exchange of knowledge and co-creation involving multiple actors and end-users.

    Expected impacts

    SUSTANOLIVE will foster the following targets: i) Development of low-in-put systems with high productivity and reduced environmental impacts. The design of novel olive cultivation methods based on the integration of concepts from agro-ecology, economics and the social sciences, geography and land-use management, and agronomy, and the subsequent adoption of sustainable technological solutions (STSs) will improve the system ́s capacity to deliver multiple ecosystems functions and services, ii) A more diversified olive oil land-use system, which supports the delivery of multiple ecosystems services. The implementation and demonstration activities for various STSs within SUSTAINOLIVE is expected to underpin the delivery of multiple ecosystems services at farm and landscape levels, iii) Integration of ecological, agronomical, territorial and socio-economic knowledge to design and assess efficient productive systems that are based on agro-eco-logical principles. SUSTAINOLIVE aims to integrate ecological, agronomic, territorial, socio-economic and lay knowledge to design a set of STSs that are adapted to each major type of olive groves, and that help tackle exist-ing technical and socio-economic challenges, and iv) Promote and develop the sustainable use of rare and new species and improved local species/products and farming systems that were best suited to Mediterranean conditions. SUSTAINOLIVE will make use of underexploited herbaceous species and plant communities of cover crops (including local varieties and landraces of legumes, cruciferous, grasses and other wild species) in the inter-rows of olive groves that are best adapted to local conditions and may provide specific ecosystem services