Flooded olive groves in Liguria, Italy (Photo: Coldiretti)

Coldiretti, the primary association of Italian farmers, raised the alarm on olive oil production in Liguria. Due to bad weather and floods during recent weeks, olive production in 2014 is expected to be half of what it was in 2013 when the region produced 5,728 tons of olives.

The current year did not get off to a good start. The trend of bad weather, unexpected high temperatures, drought and the plague of parasites had already reduced olive harvest estimates, but the latest devastating events makes the situation worse.

Coldiretti said the heavy rain in Liguria was even more damaging after a drought in the region that saw an 82-percent reduction in precipitation this season compared to the annual average level.

Rain flooded the fields, stripped the plants, interrupted rural tracks and isolated whole inland villages in the region, thus reducing production and impeding harvesting at the worst time.

Coldiretti has therefore begun a program to monitor the situation in Liguria in order to put together a suitable plan for requesting funds for regional agricultural activities and to support olive producers in particular, who during this period work to harvest their olives and sell it to obtain sufficient financial resources for next year’s operations.
See more: Complete Coverage of the 2014 Harvest
The monitoring program is expected to be long and difficult because it is estimated that 98 percent of Ligurian municipalities were struck by floods or are in areas of high hydrogeological instability, and are therefore still a flood hazard.

The president of Liguria, Claudio Burlando, along with the mayor of Genoa, Marco Doria, and Erasmo D’Angelis, the coordinator of the national prevention campaign “Italia Sicura,” announced that, during the Regional Council meeting, he will ask for emergency state aid, and he recommended that all of the municipalities prepare an estimate of losses. He that losses will exceed 300 million euros.

The fall in olive oil production in Liguria is only the latest of expected hits to Italian olive oil production in 2014 On a national scale a decline in production of 35 percent from last year is expected. The decrease in Italy comes at the same time as an even greater drop in Spain, where production is anticipated to go down by half from lats year’s huge output. As a result, Coldiretti forecasts a 38 percent rise in the price of olive oil.

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