Greek Olive Variety Makri Awaiting EU PDO Status

Makri is an indigenous Greek olive variety cultivated in Alexandroupoli in northeastern Greece close to the border with Turkey, a region located in the western part of the geographical and historical region known as Thrace.

Feb. 21, 2018
By Isabel Putinja

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An appli­ca­tion was sub­mit­ted to the European Commission on January 11 to include the Greek olive vari­ety Elaiolado Makris” (also often called Makri”) on the EU’s list of food prod­ucts with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) sta­tus.

Demosthenis Hatzinikolaou, pres­i­dent of a local agri­cul­tural olive oil coop­er­a­tive, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), that the appli­ca­tion was an eight-year-long process since the vari­ety first had to be included in the National Catalog of Varieties before PDO sta­tus could be applied for on the national level. After national recog­ni­tion, the appli­ca­tion can then be sub­mit­ted for EU sta­tus.

Once the appli­ca­tion was sub­mit­ted to the European Commission it was exam­ined for receiv­abil­ity” and then pub­lished in the Official Journal on January 11, 2018, in accor­dance with offi­cial pro­ce­dures. Following pub­li­ca­tion, objec­tions to the appli­ca­tion can be received and exam­ined over a period of six months.

Makri is an indige­nous Greek olive vari­ety cul­ti­vated in Alexandroupoli in north­east­ern Greece close to the bor­der with Turkey, a region located in the west­ern part of the geo­graph­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal region known as Thrace. This is the north­ern-most area of the coun­try where olives are cul­ti­vated and a region with a par­tic­u­lar micro­cli­mate that gives it dry sum­mers and cold win­ters.

Maria Micheli of Konos told Olive Oil Times that this micro­cli­mate is inte­gral to Makri’s ter­roir: We have smooth tran­si­tions between the sea­sons as a sea­side area and within the aura of the Thracian Sea there’s a unique micro­cli­mate,” she explained.

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Producing in the same region is Niki Kelidou of Kyklopas Olive Mill who describes Makri as a unique vari­ety of the region that has a medium inten­sity and del­i­cate fruity aro­mas of green banana, fresh herba­ceous flow­ers and arti­choke but also with a bal­ance of bit­ter­ness and spice.”

Receiving a prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion des­ig­na­tion like PDO is valu­able because it’s a rec­og­nized mark of qual­ity that guar­an­tees an authen­tic prod­uct that orig­i­nates in a spe­cific geo­graph­i­cal region. This also rein­forces con­sumer con­fi­dence and gives pro­duc­ers a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage in European as well as inter­na­tional mar­kets.

The appli­ca­tion for PDO sta­tus is impor­tant for us,” Kelidou told Olive Oil Times. But not so much because of the oblig­a­tions regard­ing cul­ti­va­tion, extrac­tion and stor­age as we already sat­isfy these require­ments. We are espe­cially pleased that after so many awards which rec­og­nize the qual­ity of our oil, we have drawn atten­tion to the Makri vari­ety and set in motion the PDO process. We sin­cerely hope that this will sen­si­tize more pro­duc­ers in the region regard­ing the proper man­age­ment of the olives, from the grove all the way the olive press.”

Micheli said the offi­cial recog­ni­tion for Makri would be a boon for its pro­duc­ers: PDO is an impor­tant recog­ni­tion for us because it’s an acknowl­edg­ment of our dis­tinct prod­uct: our olive oil. It gives us the oppor­tu­nity to make it known to the pub­lic and to acknowl­edge the hard work that goes into pro­duc­ing an olive oil of great qual­ity.”

There are three dif­fer­ent des­ig­na­tions for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and food­stuffs under the EU’s prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem:

PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) is the high­est des­ig­na­tion because it vouches that a prod­uct that has been pro­duced, processed and pre­pared in a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area using recog­nised know-how.

PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) is the stamp” given to a prod­uct or food­stuff that is closely linked to a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area, with at least one stage of pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing or prepa­ra­tion tak­ing place there.

The third is TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) which indi­cates the tra­di­tional char­ac­ter of the prod­uct with regard to its com­po­si­tion or means of pro­duc­tion.

There are already 19 reg­is­tered Greek olive vari­eties with PDO sta­tus and a fur­ther 11 with PGI. Many of these were reg­is­tered already back in 1996. Besides Makri, another appli­ca­tion that’s in progress is the one sub­mit­ted for the Greek vari­ety Krista on July 6, 2017.


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