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Expanding production of a Mediterranean staple

photo of harvesters



Under cultivation:

~3,000 hectares of olive orchards leased and operated

(+~3,000 hectares operated on behalf of 3rd parties)

Annual production:

3.5 million kg of extra virgin olive oil from own orchards

Nutritional experts recommend the Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes—for its health benefits. As its main source of fat, olive oil occupies a central role in the Mediterranean diet. In addition to being versatile and full of flavour, olive oil contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease and cancer. Despite these benefits, olive oil ranks 9th among the most consumed vegetable oils globally.

Producers are poised to benefit from growing global awareness of olive oil’s health benefits and cooking attributes. One such producer is Aggraria, an olive tree plantation operator in the Iberian Peninsula in which Ontario Teachers’ acquired a majority stake in 2022.

photo of Aggraria olives

Benefiting from proximity to major irrigation system

Aggraria’s farms lie in Portugal’s Alqueva region—traditionally considered a good place to grow olive trees due to its hot, dry summers and mild wet winters. The benefits of that location grew after the nearby Alqueva dam was built two decades ago, creating Europe’s largest agricultural reservoir. Because all of Aggraria’s farms are connected to the Alqueva irrigation system, they are well positioned to weather one of the biggest challenges facing the olive industry, which is the risk of severe drought linked to climate change. The Alqueva system has the storage capacity to withstand at least three successive years of drought.

Developing super-high-density olive orchards

Aggraria harvests about 25 million kilograms of its own olives a year, which it cold presses to produce 3.5 million kilograms of extra virgin olive oil bound for global markets. It aims to grow by acquiring more farms and boosting its existing farms’ yields through careful crop management techniques. Central to its growth plans is the development of super-high-density olive orchards, which feature trees planted close together to allow for better management of inputs like fertilizer and water and more efficient harvesting. Super-high-density olive farming is higher-yielding, meaning more production of this healthy oil.

Aggraria harvests

~25 million kg

of its own olives per year

Even though olive oil is seen as one of the most beneficial oils for our health, it is still one of the least consumed oils globally. We are excited by the tailwinds supporting extra virgin olive oil and aim to continue expanding our investment in this sector.

David Hutchinson
Aggraria board member and Managing Director, Value Creation and Analytics, Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Ontario Teachers’
photo of Aggraria olive fields