Estimates of this year’s olive oil production by key stakeholders offer contrasting pictures of the quantities of extra virgin olive oil that may be available on the Greek market for this season.

While forecasts by a number of sources fall in the range of 170,000 to 200,000 tons, the chairman of the Hellenic Federation of Olive Oil Standardization Industries (SEVITEL), Grigoris Antoniadis speaking to the Athens News Agency claimed that this year’s production will be around 140,000 tons.

These statements which came as a surprise to other market players have opened room for speculation as some feel it may lead producers to hold back and stock olive oil with hopes of fetching better prices in the future.

As far as the price level is concerned, Antoniades explained that the main reason for this year’s ceiling at around €3 ($3.34) per kilo of extra virgin olive oil is the oversupply of Spanish olive oil which puts pressure on the price of Greek olive oil.

Experts responding to Agronews’ inquiry pointed out that the volume quoted by Antoniades may not necessarily be out of range but at the same time, it may not include quantities traded under the table. The same source claimed that the amount of olive oil sold in the grey market which were not accompanied by invoices last year came to about 40,000 tons.

The steep increase in farmer’s taxes since 2016 was cited as the major driver behind the boost in black market trade in olive oil.

Perhaps a more complete picture of this year’s production could emerge from the olive pomace oil industry, as it collects and processes the residues of the first extraction.

“The quantity of pomace olive oil produced is roughly 10 percent of the total olive oil in each season,” said Manolis Giannoulis, chairman and CEO of ELSAP SA and president of the Interprofessional Association of Olive oil (EDOE). “Based on the quantities of the olive pomace oil produced so far, I would place this year’s production stands to be around 180,000 to 200,000 tons,” he said.

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

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