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Greek Farmers Expect Lower Yields as Harvest Nears

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Panayotis Karantonis, an International Olive Council advisory committee member and director of the Hellenic Association of Industries & Packers of Olive Oil (ESVITE), tells Olive Oil Times that recent estimates for the upcoming olive harvest in Greece call for lower yields than last year. “Due to adverse weather conditions, mainly in Crete, and the extensive presence of the olive fly, the new production is estimated to be less than 250,000 metric tons” of olive oil.

Nikos Michelakis, scientific advisor of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (ACOM or SEDIK), also suggests that the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food’s estimate of 300,000 metric tons of olive oil is likely to be too high this year. Because of the damage “from extreme weather conditions such as an unusual heatwave in spring, particularly in Crete, and from very little rainfall,” Greece may produce as little as 200,000 metric tons of olive oil this year.

As the earliest olive harvests begin in Halkidiki, northern Greece, most of the 18 producers who responded to an Olive Oil Times questionnaire seem to expect approximately 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons of olive oil production this year. Producers are anticipating a smaller harvest in some parts of the Peloponnese, most of Crete, and central Greece, while they sent mixed reports from Lesvos and indefinite answers regarding olive oil from Halkidiki.

ESVITE’s Karantonis suggests that while “exports of Greek olive oil during the current crop year (2015/16) are estimated in the area of 140,000 metric tons, the first estimate for the new crop year’s exports is just 110,000 tons.” Karantonis adds that in Greece the remaining olive oil “stocks at the end of the current crop year (2015/16) are estimated around 50,000 tons.”

Karantonis points out that “prices for fresh oils which are expected in the market by mid-October will be, as always, decisively affected by the interest to be expressed by Italian traders and importers.” Michelakis also notes that is difficult to predict prices, since they “will depend largely on the production and the prices in the main oil producing countries, Spain and Italy.” If current forecasts for production are correct, he says, prices may remain stable, at least until the beginning of the harvest.

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George Mathiopoulos of the Greek Olive Estate predicts a very good quality harvest, perhaps 10% less than last year, in Gortynia (central Peloponnese).

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Source: Oliveoiltimes.com