The olive oil indus­try in France will face a cat­a­strophic year sim­i­lar to losses grow­ers endured in 1956. Add the bleak out­look here to sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions through­out major parts of Italy and Spain.

France does not pro­duce a lot of olive oil com­pared with its Mediterranean neigh­bors. On a good year, pro­duc­tion can be around 4,500 tons, but this year it is esti­mated to pro­duce only 2,000 tons — more than a 50-​percent loss.

Olivier Nasles, pres­i­dent of L’association Française Interprofessionelle de L’Olive, (AFIDOL) the inter­pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tion for olive oil in France likened the sit­u­a­tion to a tsunami in the local olive oil indus­try.

The low­er­ing of quan­tity, and qual­ity, of French olives will have an effect on the entire indus­try includ­ing mill own­ers who process olives from small pro­duc­ers.

According to AFIDOL, this year’s win­ter was not cold enough to have enough of an effect on olive flies, allow­ing the fruit fly lar­vae to sur­vive and feed. Summer brought hot and cold days, equally bad for the olives, caus­ing them to fall to the ground.
See more: Complete Coverage of the 2014 Harvest
Some olive oil pro­duc­ers in Provence are con­cerned they might not be able to sub­mit their prod­ucts to the yearly national and inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, while oth­ers are wor­ried they be unable to sat­isfy cus­tomers both at home and abroad.

Caught up in this try­ing period are Gilles and Brigitte Stalenque, who won a Gold Award for their fruity green olive oil at the New York International Olive Oil Competition last year. From their five-​hectare domaine sit­u­ated in the ancient vil­lage of Seillans, 72 kilo­me­ters inland from Nice, Brigitte said, “It’s so dif­fi­cult to keep the morale going, we are so proud of our fam­ily busi­ness and now this.”

On a pos­i­tive note, AFIDOL said that this year’s results will not have the same cat­a­strophic effect as the dras­tic cold weather in 1956 when trees had to be cut down. Alexandra Paris from Afidol said pro­duc­ers in 1956 had to put up with seri­ous long-​term effects. Producers in France will spring back into action, Paris promised, in 2015.



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