`Greece Again Adds Kalamata Olives to National List of Plant Varieties - Olive Oil Times

Greece Again Adds Kalamata Olives to National List of Plant Varieties

By Costas Vasilopoulos
Sep. 21, 2022 20:38 UTC

In Greece, the term Kalamata olives has been re-reg­is­tered on the national list of plant vari­eties as syn­ony­mous with the Kalamon cul­ti­var.

Once again, pro­duc­ers through­out the coun­try can use the name Kalamata for their Kalamon table olives. Historically, the term Kalamata has been reserved for the use of Kalamon olives pro­duced in Messenia and Laconia on the south­ern Peloponnese penin­sula.

A 2018 min­is­te­r­ial decree orig­i­nally allowed the term to be used more broadly for Kalamon olives across the coun­try. However, the decree was reversed by the coun­try’s supreme court last June after an appeal from Messenian pro­duc­ers alleg­ing mis­use of the legally pro­tected term Kalamata.’

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“[The supreme court repealed the 2018 deci­sion] as not legally jus­ti­fied due to lack of essen­tial tech­ni­cal judg­ment of the com­pe­tent bod­ies,” the min­istry said in a press release. Minister Georgios Georgantas moved to reis­sue the deci­sion after the pos­i­tive rec­om­men­da­tion of the com­pe­tent Technical Committee for Propagation Material.”

The min­istry sup­ports the PDO/PGI [Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication] prod­ucts and all other iconic prod­ucts of our coun­try,” the release added. They pro­mote Greece in inter­na­tional mar­kets and con­tribute deci­sively to our goal of iden­ti­fy­ing Greek prod­ucts with qual­ity, high nutri­tional value and our cul­tural her­itage.”

Producers of Kalamon olives in the coun­try can now mar­ket their olives as Kalamata olives,’ sim­i­larly to their coun­ter­parts in the Messenia region.

On the other hand, Messenian pro­duc­ers can use the Protected Designation of Origin label, which the European Union attrib­uted to Kalamon olives of Messenian ori­gin in 1996.

However, the chasm between Kalamon pro­duc­ers based in Messenia and their coun­ter­parts in the rest of the coun­try remains.

The min­is­te­r­ial decree nor­mal­izes the domes­tic mar­ket for olives in a sea­son when a record pro­duc­tion is expected in the coun­try,” five table olive asso­ci­a­tions from around the coun­try said in a joint state­ment.

Greek olive pro­duc­ers have heav­ily invested in plant cap­i­tal, equip­ment and facil­i­ties over the last decades to pro­duce a qual­ity prod­uct of which more than 80 per­cent is exported under the name Kalamata Olives,’ ” they added.

However, pro­duc­ers and local author­i­ties in Messenia have protested the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the term Kalamata,’ claim­ing olive grow­ers from abroad could usurp it.

The min­is­te­r­ial decree enables grow­ers of Kalamon olives any­where on the planet to mar­ket their olives in the European Union and where the Union has rel­e­vant [trade] agree­ments under the name Kalamata,” they said in an announce­ment after meet­ing to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion.

The Kalamata’ Designation of Origin is pro­tected by Greek and European leg­is­la­tion,” they added. It is an intan­gi­ble asset of the pro­duc­ers and is linked to two other prod­ucts that carry the name of the city of ori­gin, the Kalamata PDO extra vir­gin olive oil and the Kalamata PGI ouzo.”

According to some esti­mates, the pro­duc­tion of table olives in Greece this year, includ­ing the Kalamon/Kalamata and other table olive vari­eties such as the Chalkidiki and Amfissas, is expected to amount to around 223,000 tons, an increase of 35 per­cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous crop year.


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