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Bumper crop for Greek olive oil

Olive oil production is expected to surpass 300,000 tonnes during this year's crop, recovering from a low 135,000 tonnes last year - one of the worst years for the sector - according to estimates made by the Agricultural Development Ministry on Wednesday.

The ministry, in a report, said that existing olive production could lead to the production of 400,000 tonnes of olive oil, which due to various factors (weather conditions, diseases) is not always achievable. The usual domestic production of olive oil will be around 320,000-330,000 tonnes.

At the same time, reduced olive oil production in other production countries are pushing prices higher, with the first contracts in Greece closing at around 3.44 euros per kilo, significantly up compared with last year, while prices were expected to continue moving higher.

Greece is the third largest olive oil producer with a 13 pct share in global production after Spain (40 pct) and Italy (22 pct), but offered better quality as 75 pct of production was extra virgin olive oil, up from 45 pct in Italy and 30 pct in Spain.

Olive oil production in Spain is expected to fall significantly to 800,000 tonnes this year, from a record of 1,800,000 tonnes last year, while in Italy olive oil production is expected to be unchanged around 455,000 tonnes.