Olive trees are indigenous to the Mediterranean basin and their cultivation is an important element of the coastal cultures of the region. Olive oil trade has brought the Mediterranean cultures closer throughout the prehistoric and historic periods. At the dawn of Europe after the dark ages and for many of the centuries that followed olive oil trade was connecting Corfu, being a producing region in the southern Adriatic to Venice, being a consuming region and trading post at the north tip of the sea. In a similar manner, olive oil production and trade connected many other Adriatic territories. Olive trees require for their growth the mild climatic conditions the coastal areas of the Mediterranean offer. In the Adriatic region olive groves can be found in almost all coastal areas however their density increases in the south.The change of the social and economic status of the Adriatic region brought by the 20th century had as a result, in many instances, producers to own small and scattered plots of olive groves. This, in combination with lack of proper access roads and of mechanization of cultivation hinders production in many territories.
This in turn resulted in partial or full abandonment of olive tree cultivation and consequently in shrinking of all related activities and migration of people to nearby cities and coastal areas. This shift of the equilibria has and will further affect the sustainable growth ability of Adriatic region. The most important factors responsible for the problems the olive sector faces are:Olive tree cultivation techniques do not support good quality olive oil production. Most olive trees are currently cultivated by using not environmentally friendly chemicals and techniques.Olive oil processing produces harsh for the environment waist, which is not treated and disposed off properly.Current olive oil processing does not always support the production of high quality olive oil, there are many small units and new investments are limited.Olive byproduct processing local industries, such as soap producers, are not adequate and/or capable of absorbing the production. Access roads to olive groves are not always adequate. The olive grove as an added value to the landscape has not been evaluated and the olive groves are not adequately protected. Although studies concerning the nutritional value of the olive oil exist, consumers in many countries are not adequately informed.Although there are many cultural and historical common references among olive oil producers of the region there is no coherent approach.Training of the producers in new developments is usually very limited. Often low quality, low productivity and not profitable trading of olive products results in disappointment of the producers and consequently in abandonment of the cultivation and immigration of people to cities or coastal areas. This results in the loss of a significant natural resource and the weakening of local cultures.