Greek olive oil producers confronting climate change

As stated by the Greek Ministry of Agriculture, more than 3,000-4,000 people are turning to olive oil production every year. We are referring to third generation olive growing farmers who have decided to take over the traditional olive groves of their parents or grandparents and continue the family business under a new, more “well-trained” perception. These young producers, are willing to empower their family business by using all of their skills while turning out to more sustainable production methods. Despite this thrilling fact, the previous year’s olive oil production, hasn’t been at their favor.

According to the farmers, climate change is considered one of the new big threats as far as olive oil production is concerned. Just one look at the weather conditions of the two previous years could help us figure out the reasons. 2017 was extremely dry while 2018 very humid. This has caused the stress of the olive trees and -at the same time- the generation of microorganisms that have attacked the trees and affect their fruits (aka. olives) and consequently the composition and the taste of olive oil. According to International Olive Council, producers are trying to convince as many of their associates as possible to turn out to organic farming, to use more compatible crops and less fertilizers, in order to reinforce their productions.

In the meantime, Greek Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the previous year’s olive oil production is being completed with a reduction of -30%, a decrease which jeopardize the country’s 3rd place worldwide as far as olive oil production is concerned.

Photo: Stavrialena Gontzou via Unsplash

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