Greek Table Olive Exports Slowing Down

Low output, setbacks in quality and higher prices are leading foreign buyers to look elsewhere.

Mar. 7, 2019
By Yannis Panagos - Agronews

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International buy­ers have been turn­ing down deals with Greek table olive com­pa­nies. Low out­put, set­backs in qual­ity and higher prices are lead­ing for­eign buy­ers to look else­where.

The drop in table olive exports in the last two months which stands at 15 per­cent com­pared to the same period last year, has raised the con­cern of stake­hold­ers of the sec­tor and may have an impact for a num­ber of part­ners as well as those employed in the indus­try.

The fall in exported quan­ti­ties con­cerns both the green olives of the Halkidiki and Kalamon as well as of the Konservolia vari­ety both Spanish and black oxi­dized as well as the nat­ural black type.

As for the green Halkidiki olives, this year’s reduced pro­duc­tion resulted in a sig­nif­i­cant rise in the price of the prod­uct. International mar­kets, how­ever, are not respond­ing to the higher sell­ing prices, lead­ing large buy­ers to look abroad and even­tu­ally turn to other coun­tries, mainly Spain, Turkey and Egypt rather than close deals with Greek com­pa­nies.

In addi­tion, the impo­si­tion of U.S. tar­iffs on oxi­dized olives of Spanish ori­gin results in a reduc­tion in Spain’s exports to the USA (around 40 per­cent) and the pro­mo­tion of Spanish prod­ucts at very com­pet­i­tive prices to other over­seas mar­kets where Greek olives are sold.

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Concerning the Konservolia, the very small pro­duc­tion of the black nat­ural olive results in tra­di­tional mar­kets such as Italy not being served. With the Kalamata vari­ety, the largest part of this year’s abun­dant pro­duc­tion (60,000 to 70,000 tons) is kept in stor­age by the olive grow­ers across the main pro­duc­ing areas of Aitoloakarnania, Lakonia and Fthiotida. Growers are seek­ing to fetch higher prices despite the fact that cur­rent prices are the best recorded in recent years.

Large tra­di­tional importers of Kalamon vari­ety olives such as the United States, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia are not accom­mo­dat­ing the increase in prices and are opt­ing for alter­na­tive sources such as Egypt and Turkey. Market sources show con­cern over the suc­cess­ful sale of this year’s pro­duc­tion given the delays that are recorded in the clos­ing of deals and ship­ments of the prod­uct.

There are also prob­lems of qual­ity for grow­ers of the Kalamon vari­ety due to the increased dam­age by the olive fruit fly in Greece. The gov­ern­ment agen­cies respon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out pro­grams for the con­trol of the olive fruit fly pop­u­la­tions are being urged to take steps to ensure this year’s prob­lems do not recur in the future.

Olive Oil Times and the Greek pub­li­ca­tion Agronews are work­ing together to bring you agri­cul­tural news from Greece.


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