`Cretan Olive Oil Exports Grow Fivefold - Olive Oil Times

Cretan Olive Oil Exports Grow Fivefold

Oct. 26, 2015
Lisa Radinovsky

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Exports from the Greek island of Crete nearly dou­bled to €295 mil­lion for the first six months of 2015 accord­ing to Alkiviadis Kalabokis, pres­i­dent of the Exporters’ Association of Crete, largely due to increased olive oil exports which grew an even more dra­matic 518 per­cent dur­ing the same period.

Kalabokis said that devel­op­ment was pos­si­ble because 2013 was a dis­as­trous” har­vest year for Cretan olive oil pro­duc­ers, whereas the 2014 har­vest sea­son was much bet­ter in terms of both qual­ity and price.

The Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (SEDIK) quoted Kalabokis as cred­it­ing the impres­sive rise in exports as a deci­sive fac­tor for the recov­ery of the local econ­omy,” with Crete once again emerg­ing as one of the most dynamic export regions of Greece.” SEDIK noted that olive oil com­prises 57 per­cent of the total value of exports from Crete.

Kalabokis told Olive Oil Times that he expects this year’s Cretan olive oil har­vest to be sim­i­lar to last year’s, so he antic­i­pates the strong level of exports to con­tinue, although the over­all effect of the cap­i­tal con­trols in place since last June remains to be seen. In any case, he fore­sees a good har­vest, and com­pet­i­tive prices for olive oil in Crete and through­out Greece.

SEDIK sees hope in Cretan exporters’ achieve­ments in the face of the dif­fi­cul­ties of the eco­nomic cri­sis in Greece but cau­tions that efforts by busi­nesses are not enough. Governmental mea­sures to facil­i­tate exports and a defin­i­tive lift­ing of cap­i­tal con­trols” are also required. SEDIK urges an increase in the export of bot­tled olive oil so added value can come to Crete rather than being lost to the island through bulk sales.

Kalabokis explained that about half of exported Cretan olive oil was sold in bulk to Italy (45 per­cent) and Spain (5 per­cent) last year, while the rest was sold bot­tled. This is a vast improve­ment over ten years ago when 95 per­cent of Cretan olive oil was sold in bulk to Italy.

According to Kalabokis, the Greek eco­nomic cri­sis has shown that most Greeks work hard, espe­cially in the pri­vate sec­tor, see­ing what improve­ments are needed and promptly mak­ing the appro­pri­ate changes. Both estab­lished Cretan com­pa­nies and small new ones have made a lot of progress not only in qual­ity, but also in cer­ti­fy­ing their olive oil and offer­ing a vari­ety of high-qual­ity prod­ucts in good pack­ag­ing.

Composed of about 170 com­pa­nies, the Exporters’ Association of Crete has helped make it the first region in Greece to focus on regional mar­ket­ing,” to intro­duce Cretan olive oil and Cretan pro­duc­ers to new mar­kets. Cretan com­pa­nies have a ready-made mar­ket­ing story to tell, based on what Kalabokis describes as our own his­tory, our own tra­di­tion, our own tra­di­tional diet,” which many view as the basis of the famous Mediterranean diet.


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