` Greece Turns Away Cretan Olive Oil Producers Seeking Aid - Olive Oil Times

Greece Turns Away Cretan Olive Oil Producers Seeking Aid

Sep. 10, 2013
Marissa Tejada

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Cretan olive oil pro­duc­ers that were seek­ing direct aid from the Greek gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing dev­as­tat­ing weather con­di­tions will have to turn to the European Union first.

The Cretan Association of Olive Oil Producers (SEDIK) sent the let­ter to the Ministry of Rural Development (MRDF) and Greek Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) late this sum­mer out­lin­ing the dam­age caused to Cretan olive oil crops this year.

Various unfa­vor­able weather con­di­tions hit the island dur­ing a crit­i­cal point of the olive oil sea­son. SEDIK esti­mated 150 – 200 mil­lion euros in income losses and sought aid and assis­tance.

ELGA does not agree with us. Yet, these losses are seri­ous and they have dec­i­mated our olive oil pro­duc­tion sig­nif­i­cantly caus­ing a decrease of up to 70 per­cent. It’s a mas­sive blow to Crete’s econ­omy,” said Dr. Nikos Michelakis, the sci­en­tific con­sul­tant of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities in an inter­view with Olive Oil Times.

SEDIK’s let­ter stated that due to the extreme con­di­tions from May until early June, olive crops in Crete were dec­i­mated. A com­bi­na­tion of warm south­ern winds blew in from Africa with increased fre­quency and tem­per­a­tures hov­ered over 40 C or 104 F for extended peri­ods of time.

SEDIK had sought a change to ELGA statutes so Cretan pro­duc­ers could be reim­bursed. In north­ern Greece, farm­ers have been com­pen­sated due to frosty weather con­di­tions. SEDIK requested that other threat­en­ing nat­ural causes be con­sid­ered for com­pen­sa­tion as well. This summer’s weather con­di­tions caused the olives to dehy­drate and drop pre­ma­turely.

The response from ELGA is that that the losses are not reim­bursable. Furthermore, ELGA believes that the dam­ages can only be cov­ered by state aid that is approved by the EU,” says Michelakis. However, this type of aid can only be adopted after lengthy process by the EU. This, of course, leads to lim­ited com­pen­sa­tion and a delay in pay­ments for more than two to three years. This out­come dis­ap­points Crete’s pro­duc­ers.”



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