` Cyprus Moves Beyond Bulk - Olive Oil Times

Cyprus Moves Beyond Bulk

Oct. 30, 2012
Marissa Tejada

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Every fall, just like his neigh­bors in his Cypriot vil­lage of Kivissili, Michalis Chrisidou dusts off a pair of clear plas­tic tanks. His four-litre and twenty-litre con­tain­ers serve a very spe­cial pur­pose. They will carry freshly pressed bulk olive oil, a sup­ply that he says will last him the next few months.

For his small island coun­try, locally pressed olive oil car­ries a sig­nif­i­cant mean­ing. We use it for cook­ing every day. We get our sup­ply from Cypriot olive groves and that’s it. It’s local and pure and qual­ity,” said Chrisidou. A four-litre con­tainer costs between €20 to €25 ($26 to $32) and 20 litres cost between €80 to €100 ($104 to $130). Upon return­ing home, Chrisidou trans­fers the oil to tinted glass bot­tles.

In Cyprus, olive oil is rarely bought in the store because for most fam­i­lies either a fam­ily mem­ber or a friend pro­duces it some­where on the island. Some Cypriots take the time to pro­duce it them­selves with trees that they own. In fact, there are some 12,000 Cypriot fam­i­lies engaged in the indus­try. The Kyrenia, Kythrea, Solia, Lythrodhondas and Lefkara regions are known for their olive groves. However, bulk is just one part of olive oil pro­duc­tion in Cyprus these days.

Since enter­ing the European Union in 2004, olive oil pro­duc­tion in Cyprus has grown tremen­dously,” said Dr. Costas Gregoriou, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Agro Forum LTD and an inter­na­tional olive cul­ti­va­tion and olive oil indus­try con­sul­tant in Cyprus.

Costas Gregoriou

Gregoriou said between the years 2004 and 2007 olive oil con­sump­tion increased from 6,800 tons to 8,200 tons per year. Now the oil con­sump­tion has been sta­bi­lized around to 9,000 tons.

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The Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sophocles Aletraris said olive oil is of great impor­tance to the country’s econ­omy and Cypriot poli­cies sup­port the industry’s growth.

The gov­ern­ment pol­icy brings the rural world at the heart of our actions. Recognizing the daily toil of our farm­ers, we have focused our pol­icy to sup­port the sec­tor to meet the chal­lenges of the com­mon mar­ket in the European Union and the lib­er­al­iza­tion of inter­na­tional trade, and the prob­lems posed by the eco­nomic cri­sis.”

He said the European Union Rural Development Programme which began in 2007 and runs until next year, pro­vides mea­sures and actions to improve the pri­mary pro­duc­tion and upgrad­ing of man­u­fac­tur­ing activ­ity.

These pro­grams have helped enable the mod­ern­iza­tion of presses, improve the oil extrac­tion yields and pro­duce bet­ter qual­ity olive oil. Presses are oper­ated prop­erly and effi­ciently, pro­duc­ing olive oil with lower acid­ity than it used to be.

According to Gregoriou, since 1971 new vari­eties of olives for both table and oil pro­duc­tions were intro­duced includ­ing Koroneiki, Manzanillo, Picual and Kalamon. However, he said local pro­duc­ers still pre­fer the local Ladoelia vari­ety which is well-adapted to Cyprus’ cli­mate.

As the indus­try con­tin­ues to mature, Cypriots know exactly where to go for their sup­ply of olive oil every year, plas­tic bot­tles in hand, for every­day use.

We see where the trees grow every day. It’s the olive oil we know,” said Chrisidou.

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