Producers in Istria Brace for a Disappointing Harvest

Producers on Croatia’s northwestern peninsula expect a decrease of up to 80 percent compared with last year’s yield.

Sep. 29, 2021
By Jasmina Nevada

Recent News

Olive oil pro­duc­ers in Istria, Croatia’s most promi­nent olive oil-pro­duc­ing region, are prepar­ing for a poor har­vest in the 2021/22 crop year.

According to International Olive Council data, Croatia pro­duced 4,600 tons of olive oil in the 2020/21 crop year, the high­est total since 2016/17.

I guess the rea­son for (the poor har­vest) is partly because last year there was a very good olive har­vest, and the other rea­son is the cold wave on April 6, when it was –7 ºC in our area for two days and the buds froze.- Klaudio Ipša, Istrian pro­ducer

However, pro­duc­ers on the north­west­ern penin­sula have told local media that they expect up to an 80 per­cent decrease in pro­duc­tion this year, with some decid­ing not to har­vest at all.

See Also: 2021 Harvest Updates

A late cold spell that led to snow in early April, when the olive trees were bloom­ing, fol­lowed by pro­longed drought in the sum­mer months are among the rea­sons for the reduced har­vest. Additionally, many pro­duc­ers are enter­ing an off-year.

Klaudio Ipša is among the affected olive grow­ers. He told news mag­a­zine Glas Istre that this year is shap­ing up to be the worst har­vest of the past 20 years. He esti­mated that he will only har­vest 30 to 40 per­cent of what he did last year.

I guess the rea­son for that is partly because last year there was a very good olive har­vest, and the other rea­son is the cold wave on April 6, when it was –7 ºC in our area for two days and the buds froze,” he said.

However, there may be one upshot to this year’s low har­vest for pro­duc­ers: a rise in olive oil prices.

A com­bi­na­tion of an uptick in tourism after the Covid-19 pan­demic com­bined with the poor har­vest means that there is a smaller sup­ply of olive oil to meet higher demand.

Ezio Pinzan, the head of Istria’s depart­ment of agri­cul­ture, said that he would be pleased to see pro­duc­ers receiv­ing higher prices, but warned that there is no guar­an­tee this will hap­pen.

It’s all a mat­ter of sup­ply and demand,” he said. In gen­eral, I do not believe that oil prices will rise sharply because olive grow­ers know that the amount of oil varies from year to year.”

One year there is less oil, another more, and they can lose cus­tomers by rais­ing the price because they will turn to another pro­ducer,” he added. It is very sen­si­tive, it is a mar­ket econ­omy, every olive grower will judge for him­self.”





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