Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Valle del Huasco obtains the first denomination of origin for a Chilean olive oil

This seal was achieved after several years of work by the UC, thanks to funding from the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC) of the Regional Government of Atacama. The denomination of origin represents a recognition of the olive oil from the Huasco Valley as a benchmark of international quality.

Some olive trees in the Huasco Valley are over 400 years old. Its existence in the area is so old that it has given rise to a tradition of cultivation and production of oil that is unique in the world. This is one of the reasons that has allowed it to obtain a designation of origin that differentiates the oil from this area from olive oils from other places on the planet.

The Huasco Valley , located in the south west of the Atacama Region, is the cradle of this olive oil made by a large group of olive growers, who are located in those lands irrigated with water from the river of the same name. United in the Trade Association of Farmers of the Province of Huasco (AGA HUASCO) , they applied to the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INAPI) for the seal of origin that would help them better position themselves commercially.

In this work of several years, the support of the UC through the Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering and its professor Luis Gustavo Díaz was fundamental . The work was financed by the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC) of the Regional Government of Atacama.

“It fills us with pride, we have been working with this territory for many years since 2007 when we got together with the farmers. The idea was to be able to help them improve their competitiveness. What we did was to add cultural value to the products of the valley, to rescue those products that were valuable in the territory, in particular olive oil and olives”, explains Professor Díaz.

The combination of climate, soil and water in the area, together with a traditional farming system, give this olive oil its unique character, expressed in its high content of oleic acid and polyphenols, unbeatable nutraceutical characteristics.


“We hope that this will become an incentive for the new generations. We see that several of the oils are already commanded by a replacement generation. We want young people to join rural life, to revive these traditions and to be successful in marketing”, indicates the academic.


“We want young people to join rural life, to rescue these traditions and to be successful in marketing,” says academic Luis Gustavo Díaz. Image: César Cortés.
Hundreds of years growing Seville olives
“The combination of climate, soil and water in the area, together with a traditional farming system, give this olive oil its unique character, expressed in its high content of oleic acid and polyphenols, unbeatable nutraceutical characteristics, as well as a intense fruity flavor and a greenish-yellow hue, elements highly valued by consumers”, indicates Inapi.

There is no other olive oil like it in the world. This comes to provide opportunities for new initiatives to emerge, in rural tourism, as food heritage, in oil tasting, so that others join and see a business opportunity. Image: Cesar Cortes.

In addition, it highlights that other characteristics of this olive oil are that, necessarily, it must be extra virgin and extracted only by physical means. Also, the only variety of olive allowed for its production is the Sevillian, a species that has been planted for 400 years, making it the main crop in the province.

The seal of origin makes it possible to distinguish those products subject to a procedure that preserves the traditional production system. Also, it recognizes the value that this product has for Chile.

With this seal, olive oil from the Huasco Valley is recognized as a benchmark of quality, rescuing local traditions. It is a unique product in aroma and flavor, thanks to the characteristics of climate and soil, recognized in the Huasco Valley.

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