An Innovative Anti-Theft System for Olive Groves

An inexpensive security system uses fake olives with microchips to help olive growers prevent and detect thefts, an increasing concern in the sector.

Their shape, color and texture are almost identical to that of the olives on a tree, making it hard to determine which are the real olives and which are the intelligent fake ones that act as a lure to prevent and detect olive thefts in the grove, an increasing concern in Spain’s olive sector.

This is the newest concept of AgroSecurity, an Andalusian company that has developed a high-tech, biodegradable olive-shaped system with a hidden microchip that uses radiofrequency to trace the origin of the olive batches and helps identify the stolen lots.

Thefts have become a serious problem throughout Spain’s olive groves because of the enormous amounts of olives stolen to bona fide growers and because there even are groups organized to rob.

Olive thefts are difficult to identify and even more difficult to prove because of the challenges involved in demonstrating the origin of the olives. This curtails the possibility of returning the product to the grower who cultivated them.

The microchip installed inside the intelligent olives acts as an alarm. The fake olives are hung in the tree before olives ripen. Growers can place these baits in those areas believed to be most susceptible to thefts. The idea is that these lures act as a speaker, confirming that the bunches of olives in which they were found do not belong to the real owner of the olive trees.

Radiofrequency pistols are employed to read the codes in the microchips, helping cooperatives and police authorities detect the presence of the fake olives in a group, at any stage from the moment of the harvest through their delivery at the cooperatives. The microchips also allow tracing the exact origin of the bunch so that the stolen olives can be returned to their real owner. More