` Winds Blow in Bad Break for Crete - Olive Oil Times

Winds Blow in Bad Break for Crete

Aug. 27, 2013
Anna Milionis

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Ominous clouds could be cov­er­ing the 2013 – 2014 olive oil pro­duc­tion in most areas in Greece. Instead of favor­able weather con­di­tions in spring and early sum­mer that would have allowed opti­mal fruit set­ting, high tem­per­a­tures and strong southerly winds often car­ry­ing Saharan red dust affected olive trees at dif­fer­ent stages of fruit set­ting, caus­ing abnor­mal flower and fruit drop­ping, as well as under­de­vel­oped fruits, known as the shot berry phe­nom­e­non.

In a nor­mal year, the aver­age pro­duc­tion in Crete is 100 – 120 thou­sand tons account­ing for about 40 per­cent of the total Greek olive oil pro­duc­tion but this com­ing year’s har­vest may see yields drop­ping by more than 60 per­cent. Cretan pro­duc­ers fear that their income loss will be more than 150 mil­lion euros.

The CEO of Vassilakis Estate located in east­ern Crete, Manolis Vassilakis, remarks that never in his 35 years of being in busi­ness has he encoun­tered such crop dev­as­ta­tion. Momentum is gath­er­ing as pro­duc­ers around Greece sub­mit claims for dam­ages and loss of income to the Greek Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) and to the Ministry of Rural Development and Food.

In response to these claims, ELGA issued a press release which acknowl­edges the prob­lem in Crete and in other olive oil pro­duc­ing areas in Greece. The orga­ni­za­tion stated that accord­ing to EU reg­u­la­tions, any claims for com­pen­sa­tion will be reviewed in the begin­ning of 2014, when yield and dam­age data are avail­able.

Nikos Michelakis, the sci­en­tific con­sul­tant of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities, pointed out that just being vig­i­lant is not an ade­quate response to the sit­u­a­tion and that the level of dam­age could be assessed now and not after the forth­com­ing har­vest period.

Aris Kefalogiannis, CEO of Gaea Products SA, is con­cerned that we will face qual­ity issues in olive oil in the upcom­ing period and it will also be dif­fi­cult for us to find the nec­es­sary quan­tity of olive oil that fits our high qual­ity stan­dards. Moreover, due to the expected high quan­tity of Spanish pro­duc­tion, the prices of the Greek olive oil will be the same or even less than the cur­rent level.”



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