`High Quality, Average Yield Expected from Greece - Olive Oil Times

High Quality, Average Yield Expected from Greece

Nov. 20, 2015
Lisa Radinovsky

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Panayotis Karantonis, direc­tor of ESVITE, the Greek Association of Olive Oil Processors and Packers, and a mem­ber of the IOC advi­sory com­mit­tee, said he expects 275,000 to 300,000 met­ric tons of Greek olive oil this year.

There are lim­ited quan­ti­ties of early har­vest EVOO because the green (table olives) had a good price on the mar­ket.- Evi Psounou Prodromou, Yanni’s Olive Groves

Nikos Michelakis, Scientific Advisor to SEDIK, the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities, said he thinks it will be around 260,000 met­ric tons.

Sotiris Plemmenos, Treasurer of SEVITEL, the Greek Association of Industries and Processors of Olive Oil, and pur­chas­ing and pro­duc­tion man­ager at Esti EVOO and Lelia Olives, pre­dicted an aver­age quan­tity” of olive oil this year.

With very lim­ited olive oil reserves left over from last year (just 100 – 150 tons in Crete, accord­ing to Michelakis), the early har­vest of unripe olives has been com­pleted. The reg­u­lar har­vest has begun in some parts of Crete and the Peloponnese, while much of the main Greek har­vest will get under­way from now through the end of November.

Karantonis told Olive Oil Times that olive oil qual­ity will be excep­tional” this year, since the weather in Greece has gen­er­ally been very good for the olives. There was a lot of rain when it was needed, and rea­son­able tem­per­a­tures,” Karantonis said, and there has been almost no prob­lem with the olive fruit fly, except in Crete, where it is under con­trol. The olives in the Peloponnese are espe­cially good this year.

The big ques­tion,” accord­ing to Karantonis, is what prices to expect, since a recent drop in the cost of fresh Italian oil is likely to affect the sit­u­a­tion in Greece, given that the Greek mar­ket is fully depen­dent on what’s hap­pen­ing in Italy.”

If Italian pro­duc­ers are ready to sell at these lower prices, that’s good news for traders who can push prices fur­ther down. But if the Italian pro­duc­ers won’t sell at these rates and prices go up in Italy, that will push up prices in Greece and Spain.

On the other hand, Karantonis added, if Italy and Spain have the improved crop yields they expect this year, that will also affect prices in Greece: a bet­ter sup­ply of oil this year will inevitably push prices down.”

Plemmenos agreed that aver­age prices in Greece may be lower than last year given Spain’s improved fore­cast for its olive crop. SEDIK’s web­site shows Greek pro­ducer prices for the reg­u­lar har­vest gen­er­ally hold­ing at €3.30 to €3.50 per kilo­gram through early November, then drop­ping to €3.00 to €3.20 per kilo­gram in the last two weeks.

As Karantonis said, it’s very dif­fi­cult to say now what will be the sit­u­a­tion tomor­row. We are in a wait and see sit­u­a­tion,” as far as prices are con­cerned.

Karantonis pointed out that some regions, such as the west­ern Peloponnese, have a very good crop this year, although Messenia as a whole (in the south­west­ern Peloponnese) has a bit less than last year, as does Laconia. In con­trast, there are espe­cially big crops in the pre­fec­ture of Ilia (in the north­west­ern Peloponnese).

In Lesbos, Stratis Camatsos, founder of Evo3, said, the qual­ity right now is actu­ally superb. We are hit­ting the low acid­ity that we are after. However, the quan­tity has fallen a bit from last year so far, about 10 per­cent, due to the heat and the lack of water. Our moun­tain groves are pro­duc­ing more quan­tity this year than our sea level groves.”

In cen­tral Greece, it’s a very bad year,” accord­ing to Stamatis Alamaniotis, a busi­ness devel­op­ment con­sul­tant with fam­ily roots in the olive oil indus­try who spoke with expe­ri­enced olive and olive oil traders and shared his find­ings with Olive Oil Times.

In cen­tral Greece, much of the crop was lost dur­ing the grow­ing stage in May. The tem­per­a­ture changes affected flow­er­ing, and there were many losses dur­ing and after flow­er­ing,” Alamaniotis found. This left a huge short­age” in both olive oil and table olives, espe­cially with Amfissa (Amphissis) olives from the region. The qual­ity is high, but the quan­tity is low. On the other hand, Kalamata olives are doing much bet­ter than the Amfissa vari­ety, and in the north, Thasos Island’s Thrumba olives are doing well.

In Halkidiki, north­ern Greece, Argyris Bouras, owner of Eleones Hellenic Olive Products, spoke with farm­ers and oth­ers in the olive oil indus­try who agreed that there will be about 20 per­cent less early har­vest extra vir­gin olive oil from Halkidiki than last year.

He pointed out that the quan­tity and price of olive oil com­ing out of Halkidiki is influ­enced not only by the num­ber of olives or the yield of oil, but also by the price olive proces­sors offer farm­ers for table olives. If they pay a high price, farm­ers will sell their olives for (table olives). If not they will sell more for olive oil.”

Village olive mill, Astrikas, Crete (Photo: Lisa Radinovsky)

Evi Psounou Prodromou of Yanni’s Olive Groves in Halkidiki agreed that this year there are lim­ited quan­ti­ties of early har­vest EVOO because the green (table) olives had a good price on the mar­ket.”

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Although Bouras expected really good” qual­ity oil from the reg­u­lar har­vest this year, he recently began to fear that the upcom­ing reg­u­lar har­vest in Halkidiki may pos­si­bly show an unex­pected, sig­nif­i­cant drop in quan­tity.

In Crete, Michelakis reported rel­a­tively good” yields so far (for exam­ple, aver­age fruit to oil yields between 4.5‑to‑1 and 6‑to‑1, with an acid­ity of 0.3 per­cent in rare cases, 0.4 to 0.6 per­cent more often, from mills in Astrikas, Kolymbari, and Agii Pantes).

Michelakis noted that olive fly prob­lems are at accept­able lev­els in spite of delayed spray­ing, thanks to high sum­mer tem­per­a­tures and the indi­vid­ual inter­ven­tions of pro­duc­ers.”

However, Kiki Varikou, an ento­mol­o­gist at the Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Plants and Viticulture in Chania, Crete, has learned of higher pop­u­la­tions” of the olive moth (Prays oleae) than usual this year in cer­tain olive groves in the Kolymbari area (but not all of them). She expects the olive moth to affect mainly table olives, largely by reduc­ing olive quan­tity due to pre­ma­ture fruit drop, but most likely not affect­ing olive oil qual­ity.

Based on infor­ma­tion from local ser­vices, pro­duc­ers, and com­mer­cial agents, Michelakis expects about 85,000 met­ric tons of olive oil to be pro­duced from this year’s crop in Crete, with notable vari­a­tions in the amount pro­duced in dif­fer­ent parts of the island.

Still, the favor­able con­di­tions — early rains in south­ern Greece and Crete fol­lowed by sunny days — could lead to higher pro­duc­tion and a greater oil yield.

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