`Italy Anticipates Steep Drop in Olive Production - Olive Oil Times

Italy Anticipates Steep Drop in Olive Production

Aug. 23, 2022
Simon Roots

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As has been the case across the Mediterranean region, the Italian olive sec­tor has expe­ri­enced a series of set­backs this year, with high tem­per­a­tures and drought now threat­en­ing to jeop­ar­dize the next har­vest.

Initial esti­mates from Cia-Agricoltori Italiani, a farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, are for a 30-per­cent drop for the 2022/23 crop year com­pared to the pre­vi­ous sea­son in the main south­ern Italian olive-pro­duc­ing regions of Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Campania.

Even though olive trees are highly drought-resis­tant, water plays a cru­cial role in cer­tain stages of the plan­t’s life cycle.

See Also:2022 Harvest Updates

Abnormal heat dur­ing the flow­er­ing period in May and water deficit dur­ing the growth phase in July have com­bined to cre­ate a very unfa­vor­able year for olive pro­duc­tion.

As a result, the tree is forced to sac­ri­fice ele­ments of its stan­dard bio­log­i­cal processes to sur­vive, thereby sav­ing avail­able resources.

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In a wor­ry­ing early sign, some groves are already report­ing dry and shriv­eled fruits appear­ing. Even when the olives appear to grow nor­mally, water stress dehy­drates the pulp and com­pro­mises its devel­op­ment, thereby reduc­ing oil for­ma­tion.

Adding to the cli­matic prob­lems is the loom­ing threat of the olive fruit fly. At the pre-har­vest stage in autumn, the insect could fur­ther dam­age the quan­tity and qual­ity of pro­duc­tion.

According to Cia, in the face of grow­ing cli­mate imbal­ance, the mod­ern­iza­tion of water reser­voirs and asso­ci­ated infra­struc­ture are vital for the future of olive cul­ti­va­tion, as well as bet­ter soil man­age­ment and irri­ga­tion tech­niques aimed at lim­it­ing water loss.

The Italian olive sec­tor is cur­rently one of the most impor­tant glob­ally, with pro­duc­tion account­ing for 15 per­cent of world pro­duc­tion, sec­ond only to Spain.



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