Olive oil production in Italy has dropped 38% this year to just 265 million kilograms - a value close to the historical low.
The warning comes from the farmers association, Coldiretti, after analysing forecasts released by ISMEA.
Winter frost, as well as wind and rain during the flowering period weighed heavily on the crops.
Despite the negative result, Italy continues to remain the second largest producer of olive oil for 2018/2019.
Puglia maintained its position as the main production region, with 87 million kilograms, despite the 58% drop, followed by Calabria, with 47 million kilograms (-34%).
Globally, production is expected to fall 8% to just over 3 billion kilograms.
The output has been affected by a 31% decrease in production in Greece to about 240 million kilograms.
In Tunisia, the harvest is expected to fall 57%, with output not exceeding 120 million kilograms (-57%), while Portugal will remain stable at 130 million kilograms.
In contrast, Spain will continue to be the world leader, with an estimated production of 1.5 billion kilograms to 1.6 billion kilograms (+23%), accounting for more than half of the world's production.
The bad weather in Italy damaged at least 25 million olive trees, reaching up to 60% of the total in some areas, with long-term consequences.
National Olive Oil Plan
In view of this, Coldiretti underlines that a national olive oil plan must become an absolute priority for the government.
Coldiretti, together with Unaprol and FAI, have signed the largest ever oil production contract in Italy with Federolio, for a quantity of 10 million kilograms, with a guaranteed minimum price and long-term planning.
According to Coldiretti, in 2018, oil imports from Tunisia almost tripled (+170%), and could grow further if the EU renews the agreement for the entry of zero-duty olive oil to the EU up to 35,000 tonnes, in addition to the 56,700 tons envisaged by the EU-Tunisia association agreement.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine