`Greek Olive Oil Production Down Fifty Percent - Olive Oil Times

Greek Olive Oil Production Down Fifty Percent

By Marissa Tejada
Nov. 5, 2013 10:43 UTC


The dec­i­mated olive oil har­vest will have a big effect on Greece’s exports this year. The Greek daily news­pa­per Ethnos reported that Greek olive oil pro­duc­tion has dropped as much as 50 per­cent in the biggest olive oil pro­duc­ing regions. Weather and other nat­ural con­di­tions are being blamed for destroy­ing crops dur­ing a crit­i­cal point of the olive oil sea­son.

Affected Regions

On the olive oil pro­duc­ing island of Lesvos, pro­duc­tion is reported to drop to 8,000 tons from 17,000 last year. The Markopoulos fam­ily runs Meropi olive oil. They pro­duce extra vir­gin olive oil hail­ing from the moun­tain­ous, south­east­ern region of the island known as the Golf of Gera.

The cli­mate and soil make it ideal to cul­ti­vate the Kolovi olive vari­ety which thrives in dif­fi­cult kinds of soil, with­out much water giv­ing us the capa­bil­ity to pro­duce excel­lent qual­ity olive oils,” Andreas Makropoulos of Meropi told Olive Oil Times. However, while there were weather chal­lenges this year, the pro­duc­tion in Lesvos was espe­cially affected by the dakos or olive fruit fly whose lar­vae feed on the fruit of olive trees.”

In Crete, another top olive oil pro­duc­ing region of Greece, coop­er­a­tives report that they will bring in a total of 20,000 tons, while pro­duc­tion in an aver­age year reaches 45,000 tons.

We esti­mate up to 200 mil­lion Euros in income losses, and pro­duc­tion is sig­nif­i­cantly low­ered by up to 70 per­cent pro­duc­tion,” said Dr. Nikos Michelakis, the sci­en­tific con­sul­tant of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (SEDIK). It’s a mas­sive blow to Crete’s econ­omy.” Michelakis added that because olive oil is Greece’s most impor­tant agri­cul­tural export, the drop in pro­duc­tion will cer­tainly make a mark on the nation’s already depressed econ­omy.

Makropoulos agreed. It will affect the Greek econ­omy. Olive oil is one of the most exported goods in Greece and lots of fam­i­lies are mak­ing a liv­ing this way, depen­dent on olive oil pro­duc­tion.”

As a result of the destroyed crops, many Greek com­pa­nies will find it dif­fi­cult to fill orders to export abroad. Producers may lose trust from their cus­tomers because there will be a gap, a lack of pro­duc­tion,” said Makropoulos. Due to the sit­u­a­tion, Greece is also giv­ing a big advan­tage to Spain and Italy dur­ing a time when Greek pro­duc­ers were start­ing to show momen­tum in the mar­ket.”

Awaiting Aid

Many pro­duc­ers had turned to Greek Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) to seek com­pen­sa­tion to make up for the finan­cial loss. However, the agency found that it can­not give aid due to the weather con­di­tions that hit Greece. A com­bi­na­tion of warm winds blew in from Africa with increased fre­quency. Temperatures sky­rock­eted to over 40 C or 104 F for long peri­ods of time as well.

Some are await­ing a lengthy approval process from the European Commission which has a pro­gram that could poten­tially com­pen­sate olive oil pro­duc­ers. Michelakis esti­mated that pay­ments, once approved, could take up to three years.


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