` Decline in Exports Add to Troubles for Puglian Producers - Olive Oil Times

Decline in Exports Add to Troubles for Puglian Producers

Jun. 25, 2020
Paolo DeAndreis

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The many chal­lenges olive oil pro­duc­ers are cur­rently fac­ing in Southern Italy have reached a new high: offi­cial data show a rel­e­vant slow­down in olive oil export from the Puglia region in the first three months of the year.

ISTAT, the National Institute of Statistics, esti­mated exports in the period had fallen by 10.4 per­cent com­pared to the same period last year. Those data are even more rel­e­vant con­sid­er­ing that Puglia, with its 60 mil­lion olive trees, is by far the lead­ing Italian region in terms of olive oil out­put.

Although they do not come as a sur­prise given the con­di­tions of the inter­na­tional mar­ket in the COVID-19 era, the new fig­ures alarm grow­ers.

The Apulian branch of the farm­ers asso­ci­a­tion Coldiretti warned that the export col­lapse adds to an already dire sce­nario for sales and prices.

Coldiretti noted that olive oil stor­age facil­i­ties in Puglia are full. According to the offi­cial data released by the Ministry of Agriculture spe­cial obser­va­tory on olive oil, more than 70 mil­lion liters of extra vir­gin olive oil are cur­rently stored — a 128 ‑per­cent increase over last year.

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Savino Muraglia, Coldiretti Puglia’s pres­i­dent, blamed the COVID-19 lock­down for restau­rants and food venues for the sky­rock­et­ing stor­age.

Muraglia called for new infor­ma­tive and cul­tural cam­paigns both on regional and national lev­els that in the next five years, with ade­quate financ­ing and a coor­di­nated strat­egy, will pro­mote the sig­na­ture prod­uct of the Puglia region, which is extra vir­gin olive oil.”

While the lat­est data on olive oil prices in Puglia did not show any rel­e­vant vari­a­tion after the slow but steady con­trac­tion of the last few months, farm­ers have rea­son to worry as the next har­vest­ing sea­son approaches, and their con­cerns have spilled over to local pol­i­tics.

Elected mem­bers of the Forza Italia party have called for new pro­tec­tive mea­sures in a show of sup­port for new actions pro­posed by the Spanish gov­ern­ment in the last few weeks to bol­ster prices.

The most rel­e­vant olive oil pro­duc­tion region in Spain, Andalusia, is ask­ing its own Ministry of Agriculture to adopt a manda­tory mech­a­nism for olive oil stor­age to stop the price cri­sis,” said party mem­bers Mauro D’Attis, Dario Damiani and Francesco Losito. They want local farm­ers to join in and ask for those same mea­sures to be adopted in Puglia.

While dis­cus­sions are ongo­ing, Muraglia stressed how impor­tant it is to spread EVOO cul­ture among con­sumers, because they want infor­ma­tion and knowl­edge about the olive oil world.”

The Apulian farm­ers and mills have learned from the lessons com­ing from the wine world, where skill­ful mar­ket­ing and focused pro­mo­tion of the local pro­duc­tions brought Apulian wines all over the world.”



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