Koper to get centre of competence for olive growing

Koper, 7 March - The Koper Science and Research Centre (ZRS Koper) has obtained a building permit for a Centre of Competence for Mediterranean Cultures which will focus on olive growing and other forms of Mediterranean agriculture. It will be located near the coastal town of Škofije, and is planned to be completed in 2026.

The ZRS Koper said on Thursday that the new complex will provide adequate premises for the Institute of Oliveculture, its laboratory, and all accredited activities, while also housing the recently established Institute of Viticulture and Wine Production.

"We are happy that the staff of the Institute of Oliveculture of the ZRS Koper will finally get adequate research infrastructure which their excellent work deserves," wrote ZRS Koper director Rado Pišot.

The city of Koper has provided land for the new complex free of charge for 40 years in the area of a former military post in Plavje, and the Higher Education Ministry has included the project on the priority research infrastructure list.

The new centre will create good conditions for research in olive and wine growing, introducing digital technologies for the sustainable development of Mediterranean agriculture and improving adaptation to climate change. It will also support circular economy and the competitiveness of Mediterranean agriculture.

The ZRS Koper believes it will contribute to the protection of the country's agricultural sector and the preservation of the cultural heritage of its regions, while placing Slovenia alongside the most acclaimed European institutions in the field of olive growing.

The regions of Slovenian Istria and Goriška have been known for olive growing since antiquity, yet this sector suffered a lack of proper infrastructure and systemic support for a long time.

To change this trend, a number of activities have been carried out within the Institute of Oliveculture since 2010 combining research and other activities. As part of its public service, the institute is currently the accredited national coordinator for olive growing.

The institute cooperates with many national and European institutions. Its laboratory is the only in the country that tests the quality and authenticity of olive oil while also being an accredited lab of the International Olive Council.