`Italian Harvest Off to Strong Start

Europe

Italian Harvest Off to Strong Start

Nov. 3, 2015
Luciana Squadrilli

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After last year’s unfor­tu­nate sea­son, 2015 seems to be yield­ing a much more pos­i­tive bal­ance for Ital­ian pro­duc­ers, accord­ing to national sources. And judg­ing by the images of full and healthy olives spread across social media by grow­ers and millers, the fruit qual­ity seems assured over much of the coun­try.

The first esti­mates released by the Ital­ian Min­istry of Agri­cul­tural, Food and Forestry Poli­cies con­firmed the expected pro­duc­tion of 350,000 tons.

Thanks to plen­ti­ful rains which sus­tained the trees’ pros­per­ity dur­ing the spring, and the summer’s intense heat which lim­ited the olive fly’s dif­fu­sion, ONAOO (the National Orga­ni­za­tion of Olive Oil Tasters, part of the Ital­ian Union of Cham­bers of Com­merce) fore­casts a pos­i­tive har­vest, both for quan­tity and qual­ity of the olives, where Italy’s rich bio­di­ver­sity will be fully rep­re­sented again.


Accord­ing to ISMEA (the Ital­ian insti­tute for agri­cul­tural and food mar­ket ser­vices), Over­all, there have not been observed phy­tosan­i­tary prob­lems, after the heavy olive fly attack of last year. There is, then, an ideal con­di­tion both regard­ing olive oil out­put and the prod­uct qual­ity.”

The same announce­ment then added: With no doubts, the intense heat in July and the pro­longed drought pre­vented the nor­mal veg­e­ta­tive growth of the olive groves, thus imped­ing a full pro­duc­tive yield.

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The lat­est evo­lu­tion, from a cli­matic point of view as well,” ISMAE con­tin­ued, does not seem to cre­ate any prob­lem in the coun­try’s main pro­duc­ing areas, nor any fear has been recorded from the olive grow­ers about pos­si­ble dam­ages due to pathogens, in spite of the autumn rains.”

While Ital­ian extra vir­gin olive oil qual­ity seems to be assured this sea­son, the quan­tity will not be extremely high. As the har­vest­ing oper­a­tions go on, some regional esti­mates are begin­ning to pull back, mainly due to yields lower than expected.

See more: California’s Bumper Crop Might Not Yield the Oil Some Pre­dicted

In the Garda region, the olive har­vest was stopped for a few days due to rains and low out­puts, while in the south­ern regions the weather is good but yields are just decent,” sources said.

Apu­lia is expected to pro­duce 30 per­cent more than last year, yet fall 8 per­cent short of its aver­age annual pro­duc­tion, accord­ing to the regional Coldiretti fore­casts, with an out­put esti­mated at 18,739 tons. Totals are expected to bet­ter last year’s by 50 per­cent in Bari (Apu­lia main town), 40 per­cent in Brin­disi and Fog­gia, 35 per­cent in the province of Taranto and a 20 per­cent in the Bar­letta-Andria-Trani area.

In Lecce, the olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to dou­ble com­pared to last year, notwith­stand­ing the com­plete stop to the pro­duc­tion in the South­ern area of Salento, which has been affected by the Xylella fas­tidiosa out­break.

In Cal­abria — Italy’s sec­ond-largest-pro­duc­ing region — fore­casts have been reduced from 60 – 75,000 to 40 – 50,000 tons, still rep­re­sent­ing a good 20 per­cent of the coun­try’s over­all pro­duc­tion.
See more: 2015 Olive Har­vest Twit­ter Updates
Sicily should be able to reg­is­ter a very good har­vest, with esti­mates around 50,000 tons.

Not all the region’s areas have been equally blessed, though: Buc­cheri — the small vil­lage near Etna which pro­duces some of the best Ital­ian extra vir­gin olive oils — has a non-fruit­ing” year to con­tend with.

Cam­pa­nia is expected to stop reach a 25,000-ton out­put.



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