Innovative olive cultivation – Azienda Agricola Edoardo Ceci Ginistrelli

Edoardo Ceci Ginistrelli farm is settled in a high natural value (HNV) and historical value area (Castel del Monte). They mainly grow organic olives and orchards (especially apricot and cherry). The innovative practices of this farm are irrigation of olive groves, the introduction of new cultivars and a denser arrangement on the groves.

The farm        

The main production of the farm is olive cultivation. The farm comprises 46 hectares of olive groves under irrigation and 3 hectares of cherries groves under irrigation. Both areas are located in Andria (Apulia, BAT), respectively in Abbondanza rural district and Grottone rural district. In addition to the owner and his son, there are 15 employees working in the fields as seasonal contractors. The climate of Andria is temperate, 15.3 °C is the average temperature and there is an average annual rainfall of 523 mm. However, the summer season may be very hot and dry. The terrain is flat with shallow soils and all the practices necessary to maintain its natural structure and balance are adopted. The farm is just a few kilometers from the Alta Murgia National Park. Not far away is Castel del Monte, an extraordinary architectural work commissioned by Emperor Federico II di Svevia in the 13th century. It is here that the trees of the Coratina variety have been producing olives for centuries. This olive cultivar produces an extra-virgin olive oil that is nutritionally impeccable, with a sensory profile of great value, rich in elements suitable for seasoning, making the oil more long-lived and vital.

Development paths                                          

Four major milestones mark the development of this farm:

  1. The construction of two artesian wells that have supplied water into all the fields in 1992;
  2. the densification of olive groves with the elimination of fig and almond trees and the planting of olive trees in 1994;
  3. the planting of a new variety of olive tree (the carolea) to differentiate organoleptic quality of olive oil production in 1998;
  4. and the transition towards organic farming in 2011.

Business model                       


The farmer receives subsidies for organic farming and Community integration (PAC). The sources of income (sale of olives and apricots; about 100,000 € / year) are unsure and variable, because weather conditions can affect crops, yields and qualities. Moreover, market dynamics expose the farmer to price instabilities.

Innovative practices                                         

The two main innovations on this farm are minimum tillage and cutting of the plants to a maximum of three meters. The first innovation aims at minimizing soil disturbance while maintaining the best natural conditions for its correct use. The second innovation is adopted to facilitate the harvesting and pruning of olive trees, thus reducing the time and cost of these work processes.

Future                                        

One of the problems for Apulian farmers is linked to the increase of the income level. The area in which the farmer operates is fully devoted to olive cultivation. Therefore, an overexploitation of the product (olive) is causing market instability and decreasing prices. In this context, the only way for maintaining olive cultivation is to diversify the agricultural income or with extra farming activities such as working as subcontractor, and/or diversifying the cultivation. In this case, the farmer is going to plant cherry orchards in order to generate additional income.

Tips for the learner

It is important to build and maintain relations with other supply chain stakeholders in order to improve the supply chain processes and exchange for example technical information.

Authors: Rocco Roma, Annalisa De Boni