Greek Farmers Expect Lower Yields as Harvest Nears

The olive fly, a heat wave, and a drought are likely to lead to a reduced production of 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons of olive oil in Greece this year.

Lisa Radinovsky
Sep. 20, 2016
By Lisa Radinovsky
Lisa Radinovsky

Recent News

Panayotis Karantonis, an International Olive Council advi­sory com­mit­tee mem­ber and direc­tor of the Hellenic Association of Industries & Packers of Olive Oil (ESVITE), tells Olive Oil Times that recent esti­mates for the upcom­ing olive har­vest in Greece call for lower yields than last year. Due to adverse weather con­di­tions, mainly in Crete, and the exten­sive pres­ence of the olive fly, the new pro­duc­tion is esti­mated to be less than 250,000 met­ric tons” of olive oil.

Nikos Michelakis, sci­en­tific advi­sor of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (ACOM or SEDIK), also sug­gests that the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food’s esti­mate of 300,000 met­ric tons of olive oil is likely to be too high this year. Because of the dam­age from extreme weather con­di­tions such as an unusual heat­wave in spring, par­tic­u­larly in Crete, and from very lit­tle rain­fall,” Greece may pro­duce as lit­tle as 200,000 met­ric tons of olive oil this year.

As the ear­li­est olive har­vests begin in Halkidiki, north­ern Greece, most of the 18 pro­duc­ers who responded to an Olive Oil Times ques­tion­naire seem to expect approx­i­mately 200,000 to 250,000 met­ric tons of olive oil pro­duc­tion this year. Producers are antic­i­pat­ing a smaller har­vest in some parts of the Peloponnese, most of Crete, and cen­tral Greece, while they sent mixed reports from Lesvos and indef­i­nite answers regard­ing olive oil from Halkidiki.

ESVITE’s Karantonis sug­gests that while exports of Greek olive oil dur­ing the cur­rent crop year (2015/16) are esti­mated in the area of 140,000 met­ric tons, the first esti­mate for the new crop year’s exports is just 110,000 tons.” Karantonis adds that in Greece the remain­ing olive oil stocks at the end of the cur­rent crop year (2015/16) are esti­mated around 50,000 tons.”

Karantonis points out that prices for fresh oils which are expected in the mar­ket by mid-October will be, as always, deci­sively affected by the inter­est to be expressed by Italian traders and importers.” Michelakis also notes that is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict prices, since they will depend largely on the pro­duc­tion and the prices in the main oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries, Spain and Italy.” If cur­rent fore­casts for pro­duc­tion are cor­rect, he says, prices may remain sta­ble, at least until the begin­ning of the har­vest.

Peloponnese

Michalis Pachnos of Arbor Beata expects a good har­vest from his grove in Corinth (NE Peloponnese) but says pro­longed sum­mer heat and low rain­falls have resulted in stressed’ olive groves that will have lim­ited pro­duc­tiv­ity in 2016.”

A bit south­west in Mycenae, Ioannis Kampouris of E‑LA-WON antic­i­pates a good year with high qual­ity olive oil” and sim­i­lar quan­ti­ties to last year, given few weather prob­lems there and ade­quate non-gov­ern­men­tal con­trol of the olive fly.

Tasos Anestis of Rhizoma Olive Farms in Kranidi (E Peloponnese) pre­dicts that the har­vest in his area will be excep­tional, but the quan­tity will be con­sid­er­ably less” due to extremely hot, dry con­di­tions in spring that affected the local Manaki vari­ety, but not the Koroneiki.

Lisa Radinovsky

Nikos Charamis of KASELL antic­i­pates a mod­er­ate to good” quan­tity in Lakonia (SE Peloponnese) due to irri­ga­tion and lit­tle dam­age to olive trees dur­ing recent storms.

Maria Guadagno Katsetos of Loutraki Oil Company (S Peloponnese) expects a good har­vest year” with excel­lent qual­ity thanks to no prob­lems.

Giovanni Bianchi of Argali (SW Peloponnese) pre­dicts a good har­vest, although the weather has greatly favored the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the olive fly,” and strong rain­storms dam­aged other (non-olive) crops in his area.

George Mathiopoulos of the Greek Olive Estate pre­dicts a very good qual­ity har­vest, per­haps 10% less than last year, in Gortynia (cen­tral Peloponnese).

Crete

SEDIK’s Nikos Michelakis explains that in Crete, where aver­age pro­duc­tion is close to 100,000 tons, the com­ing crop is esti­mated to be less than 60,000 tons, and even lower if the fight against the olive fruit fly that started very late this year does not have a good result.” Some parts of Crete were harder hit than oth­ers by this year’s hot winds, heat, and drought. For exam­ple, Eftychios Androulakis of Pamako fears the small­est crop in a decade in moun­tain­ous Selino, south­west Crete, with medium qual­ity due to olive fly dam­age.

Emmanouil Karpadakis of Terra Creta expects a slightly smaller har­vest than last year in the Kolymvari area of north­west Crete. Creta Earth owner Giorgos Papadakis reports that the Plakias area in south cen­tral Crete had lit­tle trou­ble with hot winds or drought, since it is watered by moun­tain springs, so he expects a fairly good har­vest, although less than last year.

Lesvos

Advertisement

In Lesvos, Agrocapital reports, the cli­mate favored the devel­op­ment of the olive fly, and this will have an adverse impact on both the quan­tity and qual­ity of olive oil pro­duc­tion this year.”

Ellie Tragakes of Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises has noticed some olive fly issues but antic­i­pates a sim­i­lar har­vest to pre­vi­ous years in her groves.

On the other hand, Stratis Camatsos of evo3 esti­mates a super-har­vest­ing sea­son, one that we haven’t seen for the last 4 – 5 years,” with the same low acid­ity and aro­matic fla­vors as usual.” Although the sum­mer was dry and some strong winds have bro­ken some branches…the biggest threat right now is the olive fruit fly,” which they are mon­i­tor­ing very closely” in order to decide whether to start har­vest­ing early to avoid dam­age to olives.

Halkidiki and Central Greece

Argyris Bouras of Eleones Hellenic Olive Products expects the har­vest in Halkidiki to be smaller than last year,” but with sim­i­lar qual­ity. Recent rains have largely com­pen­sated for an ear­lier drought. The drought will leave the olives a bit smaller than other years, which is good news for olive oil because the smaller olives are used for mak­ing olive oil” rather than for table olives.

Courtesy of E‑LA-WON: Olives in Mycenae, Peloponnese

Evi Psounou Prodromou of Yanni’s Olive Grove agrees that Halkidiki will have very good qual­ity but smaller olives, adding that the table olive price will largely deter­mine how many olives are kept for press­ing, and how many sold as table olives. If table olives sell for a high price, fewer olives will be avail­able for press­ing, and vice versa.

Business devel­op­ment con­sul­tant Stamatis Alamaniotis explains that some of the larger Greek olive vari­eties, such as Amfissa (Amphissis) and Halkidiki olives, are used for dou­ble direc­tion cul­ti­va­tion (both as table olives and for oil), unlike smaller olives such as Koroneiki and Manaki.

In cen­tral Greece, Alamaniotis expects a very high qual­ity olive crop with about 70% less quan­tity than aver­age. There was some dam­age from the olive fly and the olive moth, but not too much so far, given the drought.

As Tasos Anestis men­tions, the global con­sump­tion of real extra vir­gin olive oil is con­stantly increas­ing, and this can only be good news,” as it rep­re­sents a ten­dency on behalf of con­sumers to a more healthy diet full of antiox­i­dants and anti-inflam­ma­tory” foods. This sug­gests that increas­ing num­bers of con­sumers will be hop­ing for a good har­vest.



Advertisement

Related News

Feedback / Suggestions