` Greeks Seek Aid for Olive Crop 'Disaster'

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Greeks Seek Aid for Olive Crop 'Disaster'

Jul. 8, 2013
By Marissa Tejada

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Unfa­vor­able weather con­di­tions this year, includ­ing unusu­ally high tem­per­a­tures, are con­tin­u­ing to affect cer­tain olive oil pro­duc­ing areas of Greece result­ing in a sig­nif­i­cant drop in pro­duc­tion. The coun­try may soon look to the Euro­pean Union to get through the cri­sis.

Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, rep­re­sent­ing the left-wing Syriza party of Greece, Nikos Choun­tis, opened a dis­cus­sion on whether the cur­rent con­ser­v­a­tive New Democ­racy gov­ern­ment is doing enough to help. He asked the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, which is the exec­u­tive body of the Euro­pean Union, if the Greek gov­ern­ment has approached them to ask for help in com­pen­sat­ing olive oil pro­duc­ers that have been affected by the dis­as­ter and for advice on what can be done.

What other actions can be taken directly by the Greek gov­ern­ment to give a boost to one of our most impor­tant eco­nomic exports?” asked Choun­tis dur­ing the par­lia­ment ses­sion.

Accord­ing to the Pan-Hel­lenic Con­fed­er­a­tion of Unions of Agri­cul­tural Co-oper­a­tives, other polit­i­cal lead­ers more local­ized to the agri­cul­tural dis­as­ter are speak­ing out. The mayor of Sitia in Crete, Theodore Pat­er­akis, sent a let­ter to the Min­istry of Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment and Food request­ing offi­cials to demand help from the Euro­pean Union. He wrote that spe­cial assis­tance can help pro­duc­ers directly affected in his region and enable them to con­tinue on with their busi­nesses to some capac­ity.

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In cer­tain areas Sitia pro­duc­ers found almost total destruc­tion where dam­age to the olives ranged from 90 – 100 per­cent. What this means is that our olive oil pro­duc­ers will be left with­out income and won’t have a way to even con­tribute toward our country’s most impor­tant qual­ity export prod­uct,” said Pat­er­akis.

High tem­per­a­tures ear­lier in March and April are yield­ing lit­tle to no olive crops for thou­sands of Greek pro­duc­ers. The affected crops are located in var­i­ous parts of Greece but also in areas where top qual­ity olive oil is pro­duced includ­ing Halkidi in North­ern Greece, Pelo­pon­nese in South­ern Greece, and the island of Crete, accord­ing to the Greek Agri­cul­tural Insur­ance Orga­ni­za­tion, ELGA. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from ELGA say they con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion on a daily basis.



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