Martins, M.B., Simão, B.N.J., Neves, M.A.R., Lucas, M.R.V.
The study focuses on a socio-economic characterization of an area in Serpa and Moura region, in the South of Portugal, where a project aiming at establishing soil covers on olive groves was implemented. The research consisted of two phases: data compilation from statistical and academic sources and a quantitative survey involving olives farmers in order to collect comprehensive information on socio-economic and technical characterization of olive groves. These data provided a comprehensive compilation of socio-economic characteristics and allowed the establishment of accounts for different technological situations.
The results obtained are focused on human resources, machinery capital and olive groves’ profits and costs. The use of soil crop covers, despite additional costs, allows avoiding the need of heavy tractors for harvesting. Irrigation technologies, although costly, produce higher yields consistently resulting in higher than operation costs profits. In dry land technologies, the incurred costs are al-ways higher than profits and profitability depends on subsidies.
Subsequently, farmers in this area have the conditions to innovate, however taking into account their age and farm sizes will probably need technical assistance. The technological options considered will allow a significant reduction in the risk farmers’ face, as it will allow avoiding income variability that is due to difficulties in harvesting. From the public point of view, this will contribute to maintain people and the traditional landscape of this region.
Key words: socio-economic characterization; olive groves; soil covers; farm equipment; farm costs and profits.
JEL Classification System: Q01, Q12, Q16.