Europe

Farmers Blame Law Violators for Low Olive Oil Prices

An association of Spanish farmers said violations by large companies explain what is continuing to drive olive oil prices lower and called for whistleblower protections.
Jun. 5, 2020
Paolo DeAndreis

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The Spanish asso­ci­a­tion of small farm­ers UPA asked for an in-depth inves­ti­ga­tion of the largest olive oil pack­ag­ing com­pa­nies and the chal­lenges for tra­di­tional olive grow­ers.

There is no need for fur­ther proof to see that some are spec­u­lat­ing on the backs of the olive grow­ers.- Lorenzo Ramos, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of UPA Spain

During ongo­ing dis­cus­sions with the Ministry of Agriculture in Spain, the farm­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives blamed bad actors for dri­ving olive oil prices down­ward, the UPA said, and those who might report ille­gal prac­tices need pro­tec­tions.

In his speech, UPA head Lorenzo Ramos argued that the deep­en­ing cri­sis fac­ing tra­di­tional farms is con­nected to vio­la­tions of exist­ing agri­cul­tural leg­is­la­tion.

The UPA sug­gested that some indus­try stake­hold­ers do not speak up because they fear a loss of their own busi­nesses, so the Ministry should set up some form of pro­tec­tion to avoid any pos­si­ble retal­i­a­tion against those who decide to report” ille­gal prac­tices, Ramos said.

The UPA pointed to the lat­est fig­ures includ­ing the 56-per­cent increase in olive oil imports and reduc­tions in stock and pro­duc­tion — trends that should push prices higher even as they con­tinue to fall.

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Data say it all,” said Ramos. There is no need for fur­ther proof to see that some are spec­u­lat­ing on the backs of the olive grow­ers. There is a seri­ous dis­tur­bance on the mar­ket, both on the national level and in export oper­a­tions.”

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture has ded­i­cated the cur­rent week to intro­duce a series of meet­ings with all the major play­ers in the olive oil indus­try. As already reported by Olive Oil Times, sev­eral indus­try experts have observed anom­alies on the mar­ket of the major European olive oil pro­ducer.


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