Persistent Warm Weather Causes Headaches for Olive Oil Producers in Greece

Daytime temperatures remain around 20°C in many olive oil-producing areas of the country, undermining the quality of fresh EVOOs.
Chrisso and the Crissaean Gulf in Central Greece
Jan. 9, 2023 20:03 UTC
Costas Vasilopoulos

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Amid a boun­ti­ful har­vest season, with the total yield of olive oil expected to exceed 300 thou­sand tons, prob­lems con­tinue to arise for pro­duc­ers in Greece.

See Also:Promising Signs of a Robust Harvest in Greece

The unnat­u­rally warm weather pre­vail­ing in large parts of the coun­try, with day­time tem­per­a­tures hov­er­ing at around 20°C, could com­pro­mise the qual­ity of some regions’ freshly-pro­duced Greek extra vir­gin olive oil.

The har­vest has been delayed due to the weather con­di­tions and the lack of work­ers,” said Yiorgos Kokkinos, a pro­ducer from Messenia in south­ern Peloponnese.

However, the weather has not cooled off yet, and the exist­ing high humid­ity helps the gloeospo­rium and the fruit fly thrive,” Kokkinos added. All these have an impact on the qual­ity of the olive oils, with the acid­ity lev­els rang­ing from 0.8 to 1 in the last few days. I see that high-qual­ity olive oils are reduc­ing, some­thing that will even­tu­ally bring a rise in prices.”

Producers across the coun­try are accus­tomed to colder weather this time of the year. This would have favored the olive har­vest by keep­ing humid­ity lev­els low and pre­vent­ing olive pests from emerg­ing.

On Crete, where the har­vest is halfway through, the higher-than-usual tem­per­a­tures have also spread anx­i­ety among olive oil pro­duc­ers.

The fact that it is hot and it doesn’t rain is bad,” said Vagelis Protogerakis, the head of the pro­duc­ers asso­ci­a­tion of Heraklion. The fruit fly is present and causes some dam­age. I hope that the weather will change so that we have no fur­ther prob­lems.”

Meteorologists expect colder weather to set in across the coun­try no sooner than mid-January. For the time being, warmer days — with tem­per­a­tures ris­ing by a few degrees — are expected in south­ern Greece and many of the islands, includ­ing Crete, at the begin­ning of 2023.


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