Murtigão – Sociedade Agrícola, S.A. (ELAIA)


Juan Carlos Cañasveras


+351 915 189 294



NUT Code III Province: 

PT184 – Baixo Alentejo

ELAIA currently exploits its own or leased olive groves, besides the management of the olive mills. It is a unique worldwide project. It arises from a joint partnership between Sovena and Atitlan, whose main objective is cultivating its own olive groves, or others that are leased, as well as the management of oil mills to obtain premium olive oils.

A single project on a worldwide scale, due to its dimension and operating in Portugal, Spain and Morocco, ELAIA is currently undergoing expansion into other regions of the world.

As of date, ELAIA has more than 11,000 hectares of olive cultivation, Portugal being the most important country, to a great extent due to its advances in the Alqueva project, which has meant a very important development for irrigated fields.

With the aim of controlling the whole production process, with the highest levels of quality and guaranteeing the complete traceability of its production, ELAIA to date has four modern oil presses in which 100% of the harvest is transformed.

ELAIA encompasses the production and the transformation of the oil, which is based on the idea of integrating the whole value chain from the cultivation of the olives to the final product sales, and which strengthens its position in the market and promotes the existing industrial and commercial structure.

This means that the investment, in terms of upgrading and expanding area of olive groves and innovation in processing the olive oil, demonstrates a clear focus on the Mediterranean agriculture and the creation of oils of unique quality. With these projects ELAIA is contributing to the strengthening of its position in the olive sector, and enhancing that of Portugal in the world panorama of olive oil.

The intensive olive groves have a greater density on the plantation, normally 300 trees per hectare, with modern drip irrigation systems and also with a more rational fertilisation. However, towards the end of the twentieth century, there is a new trend in the olive cultivation culture, with the appearance of ‘hedgerow’ olive groves. This system has a much greater density varying between 1,200 and 2,000 trees per hectare. Despite it requiring a much greater investment, it allows the production to be started in the fastest possible way. The level of productivity per hectare is greater and harvesting is mechanical, which speeds up the process (olives can be gathered at a speed of 5 hectares per day and per machine).

ELAIA uses both systems for many reasons, spanning from the light to the orography of the terrain, taking into account the maximisation of the resources that are available in their own agricultural properties; the TecnOlivo researchers will be centring on the ‘hedgerow’ olive groves for the field trials.