Bellavista Olive Grove
In February 1993, in order to begin a medium-scale olive growing project for experimental and demonstration purposes, CMP acquired the Los Olivos de Bellavista property of 4 hectares planted with adult olive trees in a 10 x 10 meter framework. The trees, of the Sevillana, Empeltre, Manzanilla and Liguria varieties, were of varying ages of between 3 and 40 years. Most showed vegetative and productive problems fairly general to the Huasco area. The productivity of the property was therefore low and characterized by a marked annual alternating pattern, or alternate bearing, i.e. years of high productivity followed by years with scarce or practically nil production.
In October 1994 and April 1997, CMP and the Agronomy Faculty of the Universidad de Chile signed agreements for the joint development of projects related to the growing of olive trees in Huasco valley, specifically the projects “Improvement of productivity of olive trees in Huasco valley, 3rd Region” and “Alternate bearing olive trees in Huasco valley: factors and problems relating to control measures”.
The results of these studies confirmed the need for suitable agricultural methods for growing olive trees and led to the conclusion that the poor production and alternate bearing are phenomena caused by cultural handling, which can be mitigated by applying suitable technologies. In particular, fertilization, pruning, weed control, thinning and harvesting methods were developed at Los Olivos de Bellavista. These have all been explained to the community to promote their extensive use.
The following graph shows the changes in olive production as a result of the new practices proven by CMP:
This action has been translated into two specific projects of three years each, with respect to the productivity and alternate bearing of the olive trees of Huasco valley, which have produced important results for knowing how to grow them better and developing the technology for overcoming the problems.
The contribution of both projects to the preparation of the species has been very important, being one of the most outstanding works carried out in Chile in this area.
The production levels achieved today, shown in the production graph, enable CMP not only to support its environmental performance but also to create incentives for local production activity.
Olive-oil production began in 1995, to add greater value to olive production in the Huasco valley, which led CMP to contribute by evaluating and optimizing the organoleptic characteristics of this product.
In order to obtain extra virgin quality olive oil, the olives are picked by hand at the Los Olivos de Bellavista property, are then processed by local Huasco valley companies, and finally bottled and labeled at the installations of Compañía Minera del Pacífico S.A. The olive oil of Los Olivos de Bellavista is produced by pressing the olives in a process that excludes blending with any other type of oil obtained by means of solvents or chemical procedures.