The so-called “old-fashioned” harvest of olives in Corsica, which consists of collecting with nets the ripe fruits that fall naturally, has just been included in the national inventory of intangible cultural heritage (ICP), announced the ministry of the culture.
“The inclusion of this social and cultural practice aims to make it known, recognized and above all safeguard it, that is to say, transmit it to future generations as part of sustainable development,” explained Tuesday to AFP Thomas Mouzard, project manager at the Ministry of Culture for the PCI.
“It is the recognition of know-how that is being lost: we are almost the last olive fishermen,” said Sandrine Marfisi, former president of the Interprofessional Union of Corsican Olive Growers (Sidoc) and one of the editors. of the Corsican candidacy. “In France, only Corsica has an orchard of centuries-old olive trees spared by frost to continue the old-fashioned harvest, and among the olive-producing countries only Greece still practices it,” she added. .
Maintaining this know-how, which is practiced on very old olive trees, “means keeping the villages of the interior and a community of a thousand people spread across the four corners of the island” but also “maintaining a unique plant heritage of 10,000 hectares by saving it from fire and disease,” she argued.
In Corsica, “of the 2,100 hectares of olive trees exploited”, “1,300 hectares of old orchards spread across the island are taken over, maintained, renovated” by “around a hundred professional olive growers and around a thousand people in family olive growing ”, we can read in the fact sheet published on the website of the Ministry of Culture to announce this registration.
France has 50,000 hectares of olive trees and two thirds of the world's olive oil production comes from the European Union where Spain is, by far, the largest producer with two thirds of European production. Each year, dozens of skills in France are registered in the national inventory of the PCI, such as the caning of chairs in Forcalquier (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) or the fixed fisheries of the Channel coast.
This inclusion in the PCI of France is one of the conditions for competing for registration as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage, which currently includes 18 French traditions including the gastronomic meal, the companionship or the fest-noz in Brittany. In Corsica, only paghjella, a tradition of Corsican songs performed by men, has been listed as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage since 2009.