More uncertainty in the sector of the greek olive oil


As we have already published on recently, the initially good image regarding the olive oil production and market in Greece starts to fade out and more problems seem to appear.

As for the quantities, although the first estimations at a national level were about 195-205,000 tones, the amount decreases to 190-200,000 and now is again revised to be approximately 175-185,000 tones, depending on the yield of oil/olive fruit at the olive mills.

The quality problems were located mainly in Western Peloponnese (because of the Gloeosporium Olivarum), but also in scattered areas around Greece, either because of the Olive Fly (Dacus Oleae) or because of the extremely high temperatures in May and the extended drought. From that point of view, last week’s rainfalls were an unexpected “kiss of life” for the Cretan olive groves. People with a long experience in the sector talk about the most concerning image of the last 30 years in terms of quality.

Under these conditions, the discussion about the prices entails great risk. In Crete (Herakleion) the announced producer’s price for oil with 0,3 % acidity was 3.5 €/kg, yet this type is hard to find. So, a good extra with 0,5 % acidity is reduced to 3.45 €/kg plus VAT. There are also some cases though (e.g. Sitia, Chania) where the buyers may pay the price of 3.45-3.50 € for a 0.5% since they want to cover certain and limited needs.

In Lakonia (Athinoelia zone) after a temporary decrease down to 4.0 €/kg, the prices returned to 4.40 € and keep rising further than the center of Aghioi Apostoloi, in more cooperations and villages. These are special cases though where olive oil that is bought and exported to Italy in order to improve various types of olive oil, either Italian or imported from other Mediterranean countries. On the contrary, the Greek standardization companies that had signed contracts based on the lower prices, find themselves exposed after the prices’ rising.

Concluding, we ought to note that we should avoid any euphoric and enthusiastic attitude for three main reasons:

Reason no 1: the prices that currently are regarded as high and satisfactory for the Greek producer are still more or less lower than the ones of the producers in other countries (e.g. the Italian producer has the privilege of +5,50 €).

Reason no 2: the producer’s income depends on the price as well as on the quantity. So, high prices while quantities remain low is not a great bonus.

Reason no 3: experience has proved that the abrupt rise of the prices –when there is not a safety net of stability in the market- may open the door to imports so that a few “ingenious minds” manage to cover the market needs with olive oil of doubtful quality having "de-odoured" its origin .