Circular economy and agriculture: Mapping circular practices, drivers, and barriers for traditional table-olive groves

Autores: Martínez-Moreno, M.M.; Buitrago, E.M.; Yñiguez, R.; Puig-Cabrera, M.

Datos de publicación: Sustainable Production and Consumption, 2024, vol.46, pp. 430-441.


The Circular Economy (CE) has notable potential for the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of agriculture. However, the literature on the CE has focused on the industrial sector, leaving significant gaps in the analysis of sustainable circular models in agriculture. In the case of traditional table-olive cultivation, which suffers from serious competitiveness problems, the possibilities of the CE are particularly relevant. Given the lack of previous research for the sector, this work aims to map the circular practices carried out in traditional table-olive groves and identify their drivers and barriers. To this end, an exploratory methodology of mixed approaches is proposed that combines desk research, observational fieldwork, focus groups with stakeholders and experts, and farmers’ in-depth interviews. This methodology can be generalised to other crops. The results obtained have enabled up to 59 practices to be brought to light throughout all stages of the life cycle of olive cultivation, which cover all the principles and strategies of the CE. Plant covers, the use of eco-efficient techniques, the repair and sharing of machinery and tools, and the management of organic outputs stand out. The collaborative economy and institutional support were identified as the main drivers, while technical-economic barriers and regulatory limitations constitute the main obstacles detected. Based on these results, three groups of recommendations are proposed as a guide to future policies for which certain CE practices are highlighted: increase financial incentives, create a stable legislative framework, and reinforce incentives for the collaborative economy.


  • Circular economy
  • Sustainability
  • Agriculture
  • Table-olive grove
  • Driver
  • Barrier

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