` The Battle Over Kalamata PDO - Olive Oil Times

The Battle Over Kalamata PDO

Apr. 4, 2013
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label the olives of the Kalamata vari­ety carry is ascribed only to olives pro­duced in Messinia at Southern Peloponnesus and sig­ni­fies their supe­ri­or­ity and high qual­ity. And while the PDO label gives added value to Messinia pro­duc­ers, it pre­cludes pro­duc­ers of other regions of Greece to cap­i­tal­ize on the spe­cific vari­ety, thus cre­at­ing a point of dis­pute.

The con­fronta­tion has now esca­lated, with the Union of Standardizers and Exporters of Edible Olives of Greece (PEMETE) request­ing the Ministry of Agriculture to offi­cially abol­ish the Kalamata olives PDO label. It is argued that it hasn’t served the Messinia pro­duc­ers as expected and if elim­i­nated the national econ­omy would ben­e­fit more by increased quan­ti­ties of olives with the Kalamata tag being exported.

The local olive pro­duc­ers of Messinia have in turn rejected the idea, argu­ing that a PDO label is by def­i­n­i­tion area-spe­cific and the spe­cial micro­cli­matic con­di­tions that dom­i­nate the region and their treat­ment to trees enable them to pro­duce olives of bet­ter qual­ity. What is more, the mayor of the city of Kalamata has sent a let­ter of protest to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture, urg­ing them to reject the claim of PEMETE and retain the Kalamata olives PDO label. Obviously, there are a lot in stake for both sides and the com­mo­tion is not expected to end soon.

The whole sit­u­a­tion is clearly a mat­ter of mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion: approach mar­kets with local, qual­ity prod­ucts of lim­ited out­put and higher con­sumer prices or instead use mass-pro­duc­tion goods that cost less. The above reflec­tion sets the focus on the pro­duc­ers, but the con­sumers should become part of the equa­tion as well and deci­sions should be made based on what is good for both.

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