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Farmers Battle Xylella Outbreak on Mallorca

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In November 2016, the first case of Xylella fastidiosa was confirmed in Mallorca. Less than one year later, more than 400 cases have been reported along the Balearic Islands.
And the number of infected trees grows at a rate of 40 every week, according to the authorities of the Spanish Mediterranean archipelago.

In all of Italy, which is 10 times the size of the Balearic Islands, they have found just one kind of Xylella in five years. We have found five strains in six months.– Omar Beidas, Balearic Government

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium affecting a number of plants, including some fruit trees, but it has been in the spotlight for being deadly for olive trees.

It causes the so called “olive quick decline syndrome,” a disease that has a drying effect on trees and leads them to a rapid death. Some media in Spain have dubbed it the “Ebola of the olive tree.”

After having affected more than one million specimens in the South of Italy and Corsica, the arrival of the plague in Spain — the main producer of olive oil in the world — was seen as a matter of time.

Now, in the Balearic Islands, on top of the fears sparked by the disease, local authorities and farmers are also worried about the eradication plan pushed by the European Union, which comprises the total elimination of vegetation within a radius of 100 meters (328 feet) around any infected plant.

The EU’s protocol also prevents new trees to be planted before it has been proved that the area has been bacteria free for at least five years.

If applied by the book, those measures would virtually destroy a big part of the Balearic Island’s vegetation.

“These eradication actions are difficult to implement. We try, but we have 400 infection areas. And we have to eliminate all vegetal life in a 100 radius around them. This means burning it all. Just imagine in terms of area what we are talking about. And it is increasing,” Omar Beidas, section chief officer of Plant Health at the Balearic Government told Olive Oil Times.

“As it has happened in Italy and Corsica, we are also having problems strictly implementing the European decision. It would mean to devastate the islands. Because this is happening everywhere: in woodlands, croplands, urban areas… If you find a case in a pot in the city of Palma, you have to implement the very same protocol. We are talking about any kind of plants: from olive trees to rosemary,” he explained.

The Xylella fastidiosa bacterium not only affects olive trees. It can be hosted by almost 400 species of plants. So far, in the Balearic Islands, it has been detected in fifteen of them.

“We have found the bacteria in wild olive trees, olive trees, almond trees, prune trees, cherry trees, rosemary, oleanders, grape vines, fig trees…” Beidas pointed out.

“It is important to highlight the hugely genetically diverse bacteria we have here. In all of Italy, which is 10 times the size of the Balearic Islands, they have found just one kind of Xylella in five years. We have found five strains in six months,” he added.

When asked what alternatives there are to stop the disease instead of eliminating all vegetation around infected specimens, the expert suggested a contention plan rather than an eradication one: a set of measures that would allow local authorities to eliminate not all but only certain plants.

The Balearic regional government has already asked the Spanish government and the EU to change the protocol to allow this less drastic approach.

“That would allow us a bit more margin to work. But this won’t happen until mid-2018. The EU doesn’t grant contention plans until you can prove that you have tried eradication unsuccessfully for two years,” Beidas said.

Although the disease has spread throughout all three main Balearic Islands, the gravity of the situation varies from one to another.

In Mallorca, as Beidas pointed out, most of the 50-60 detected cases in olive trees belong to a subspecies of the Xylella fastidiosa called Multiplex, a strain that does not kill the trees. Thus, the efforts to eradicate it from this island are focused on almond trees, worse hit by the bacteria.

Farmers on the largest and most populated island of this Mediterranean archipelago are worried about the advance of the disease.

“The situation is no doubt worsening. We demand the authorities to get together with the representatives of the agricultural sector, as we are the most damaged ones, to discuss the situation so they can confirm that it is as bad as we are seeing,” said Gabriel Biel, general secretary of the Farmers Union (Unió de Pagesos) of Mallorca.

“We need to implement protection mechanisms: what can we do in order to stop the disease and cure the trees and what preventive actions we must take. It is also important to know how many trees we need to uproot and how. We don’t know that yet. We sit altogether to draw solutions,” he told Olive Oil Times.

Compared to Mallorca, the situation in Ibiza, the second most populated island, is much more dramatic.

“The strain in Ibiza has been able to move forward very quickly and, even centenary or millenary olive trees have been devastated and have died,” Beidas said.

Although there is a ban of any vegetal material to go out of the Balearic Islands since the beginning of 2017 in order to prevent the spread of the bacteria, the first cases of Xylella fastidiosa were already detected in July in almond trees in the Valencia region, in Eastern Spain.

The jump from the islands to the Spanish mainland is regarded as “inevitable.”




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Tunisia: olive oil production set to rise 20 to 30%

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Olive oil production is expected to increase production by 20 to 30% in the season 2017/2018, compared to the previous two seasons, CEO of the National Oil Board (ONH) Chokri Bayoudh said Tuesday, recalling that this new season will start from the month of November 2017.

Speaking at a press conference held prior to the start of the first meeting of the National Commission to organize and monitor the olive harvest season, Bayoudh promised that the harvest would exceed production levels recorded over the last five years, which has been around 190 thousand tons.

The official, however, refrained from presenting figures on the harvest, specifying that the final forecast would be announced during the month of October.

Tunisian olive oil exports will exceed 200 thousand tons during the 2017/2018 season, said Bayoudh.

He added that Tunisia will capture new promising markets, including Canada, the USA, China, Russia and India.

In the same context, he said that Tunisia is working to gradually move away from traditional European markets, including Spain and Italy.

The annual average of olive oil exports reached 45 thousand tons in the last ten years, or 80% of the domestic production, with revenues of around 850 million dinars (MD).

“At the end of July 2017, olive oil exports amounted to about 71,617 tons, generating revenues of around 679,338 MD, against exports of 78,336 tons with revenues of 590,480 MD, during the same period of 2016, “stressed the Minister of Agriculture

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Phenols in Olive Mill Byproducts Can Be Effective Preservatives in Fresh Meats

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According to a recent study conducted in Italy, phenols from olive vegetation water can be effective natural preservatives in fresh meat.

Olive Oil Times had the opportunity to preview research that will be published in the November issue of LWT Food Science and Technology and which were achieved through the close collaboration of Stefania Balzan, Barbara Cardazzo, Enrico Novelli and Luca Fasolato from the University of Padova; Agnese Taticchi, Stefania Urbani and Maurizio Servili from the University of Perugia; Giuseppe Di Lecce and Maria Teresa Rodriguez-Estrada from the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna; and Izaskun Berasategi Zabalza from the University of Navarra.

We wanted to test an alternative approach to the use of synthetic additives in this type of food, as well as to verify the efficiency of natural antioxidants.– Giuseppe Di Lecce, University of Bologna

“Nowadays, the replacement of chemical additives with natural compounds in food preparations is a matter of great interest, both to consumers and to the food industry,” Giuseppe Di Lecce told Olive Oil Times. “Consumers not only have a strong expectation of foods with the fewest or lowest possible level of additives but also tend to sharply distinguish between natural and synthetic extra ingredients.”

Giuseppe Di Lecce

Many people believe that processed meat is unhealthy. “The consumption of fresh ground meat preparations is very widespread due to their pleasant taste and ease of cooking, but according to a survey on the health benefits of processed meats, half of the respondents believed that processed meat contains large quantities of harmful chemicals,” said Di Lecce, who has also served as a judge or panel leader at all five editions of the annual New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC).

Nevertheless, food additives like antioxidants must be used to control lipid oxidation during food processing and storage, in order to prevent rancidity, deterioration of sensory quality and production of free radicals which are involved in a series of chronic degenerative pathologies other than cancer.

“On this basis, we wanted to test an alternative approach to the use of synthetic additives in this type of food, as well as to verify the efficiency of natural antioxidants,” he explained.

The well-established positive contribution of extra virgin olive oil to human health is mainly attributed to the antioxidant actions of a composite class of hydrophilic phenols. Accordingly, in this study researchers used a purified phenolic extract obtained from fresh olive vegetation water arising from the Moraiolo olive cultivar.

The entire experiment was performed in three replicates, each one using slightly more than 40 kg (88.1 lbs) of shoulder and belly pork that was ground, mixed with salt and divided into three batches. With the goal of avoiding secondary and non-standardizable antioxidant effects from other ingredients, no spices were added.

Each batch was further mixed and stuffed into bovine casings by using a hydraulic piston-type stuffer. The sausages, nearly 100 g (3,52 oz) each, were left to drip and then stored without packaging in a display cabinet under alternating exposure to fluorescent light to simulate retail shops and butcheries.

At zero, 7 and 14 days, a representative number of sausages from each batch were sampled and frozen in liquid nitrogen before being stored at 80°C (?112°F) until analysis. At the same times, the same number of sausages from each batch was cooked, cooled in an ice bath, stored for 72 hours at 2-4°C (35.6-39.2°F) and then frozen in liquid nitrogen before being stored at -80°C (-112°F) until an analysis.

The meat products were evaluated before and after an aerobic storage for 14 days. Adding the phenol extract at different concentrations, researchers found a decrease in pH, diacylglycerols, peroxide value, thiobarbituric acid reactive species, and cholesterol oxidation products. Sensory analysis revealed significant differences between control samples and those enriched with the extract, but the enriched samples were never considered unpleasant by the panelists.

The results revealed that the purified phenol extract showed efficacy in preventing both primary and secondary lipid oxidation and in limiting the oxidative degradation of cholesterol in raw and cooked fresh pork sausages. Phenols proved to be an effective antioxidant in these food products, thus resulting a potential ingredient to ensure quality and safety of meat preparations.

“This approach has many advantages,” Di Lecce observed. “For the meat industry, in a perspective of a progressive reduction in the use of synthetic additives toward the so-called clean label; for consumers, in terms of benefits from the health standpoint; for the olive oil sector, with a view to a more sustainable approach in managing byproducts and providing an added value to the wastewater,” Di Lecce concluded.




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California Olive Ranch Pursues Regenerative Agriculture

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This is the second installment in a series of articles on California Olive Ranch, the largest American olive oil producer.

As natural disasters continue to dog various regions, cities log their hottest seasons on record, and the state of our planet’s climate remains a hotly debated question, California Olive Ranch CEO Gregg Kelley asserted that his company has taken decisive measures to “work with the land,” rather than against it throughout their production operations.

We take pride in finding new ways to work with our environment to ensure we are operating in harmony.– Gregg Kelley, California Olive Ranch

Using science and data the company boasts that 99 percent of waste is recycled and their methods help the ecosystems in which the company grows its olives and mills its oils.

Beyond conserving resources, COR hopes to become one of the first large, permanent crop farmers to effectively pursue a regenerative agriculture approach, which entails slashing waste and reusing what is inevitably leftover. According to a statement provided by the company, “there are no large-scale, permanent planting farmers pursuing Regenerative Ag.” COR has enacted measures to reuse each of the byproducts that come from its production process, including pomace, trimmings, and water.

Gregg Kelley

Pomace and other waste generated from olive processing are distributed to local ranches for use as cattle feed. Trimmings are recycled for compost to be used throughout the company’s various groves, and water is recycled for irrigation.

COR’s largest conservation competency lies in its sophisticated irrigation system. One of the company’s groves is watered by two reservoirs which are drawn upon only when alerted by real-time sensors, allowing the company to “decrease water inputs and monitor how certain acres or plots are growing/thriving” irrigating only when trees require it. This water is then applied through drip irrigation which “minimizes water usage and allows less water to evaporate.”
See more: This year’s award-winning olive oils by California Olive Ranch
Milling facilities feature machinery designed to require less water. Cleaning agents used in the sanitization process have been chemically analyzed to ensure that water can be recycled for irrigation purposes after use.

california-olive-ranch-pursues-regenerative-agriculture

In packaging operations, COR explained that all of the glass used in bottling is recyclable and cardboard used for foodservice products is from recycled material. Plastic bottles are made from HDPE and PET plastic.

While olives do not require bees for pollination, COR partners with “multiple apiaries to house their hives during the offseason.”

Touring California Olive Ranch’s grove COR 3, it’s easy to discern where their property ends and the adjacent one begins. While the land across the line has been neatly tilled and lays barren waiting for a crop to take over, COR’s trees thrive among the brush that the company has left intact.

In this environment, wild animals of all sorts populate the groves, peacefully coexisting among the lush rows of olive trees. A Greater Roadrunner scurried through some trees in the northernmost reach of its American habitat. “We take pride in finding new ways to work with our environment to ensure we are operating in harmony,” Kelley said.




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24 Achieve Olive Oil Sommelier Certification After Intensive Week in California

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Twenty-four people came from as far as Hong Kong, Greece and Turkey to gain a deeper understanding of olive oil sensory evaluation at the fourth edition of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program in Campbell, California last week.

…incredible amounts of information that will be used as a reference guide for years to come.– Olove Oil Producer and Sommelier

Having successfully completed the six-day, comprehensive course, they joined the growing ranks of sommeliers around the world — ambassadors of olive oil who will, in turn, educate others on matters of olive oil quality, usage, and appreciation.

The attendees ranged from small producers to representatives of the very largest; from quality-control technicians to professional chefs and restaurateurs; from independent retailers to major distributors.

Over the course of the week, they were led through guided tastings of more than 130 samples of olive oil from 26 countries by instructors from Italy, Greece, Chile, New York and California.

The interactive program spanned the history and culture of olive oil, olive tree cultivation and harvesting, milling and production, health benefits and chemistry, quality management, culinary applications and food pairing and, of course, the sensory evaluation of extra virgin olive oil.

On two of the days, there were open forums, over lunch prepared by the International Culinary Center, where participants shared their own ideas and projects with the group. “What we have found is that tapping into the collective wisdom of such a diverse, international group of professionals can often expose a clear path forward for the participants’ initiatives and ambitions,” said Curtis Cord the program director, “or at the very least, build on this community, and expand our networks to make change happen.”

24-achieve-olive-oil-sommelier-certification-after-intensive-week-in-california

In fact, past participants of the program have wasted little time putting their expertise and connections to work around the world.

“Fabulous course with incredible amounts of information that can (and will) be used as a reference guide for years to come. Thank you for exposure to knowledgeable experts we were unlikely to have the opportunity to meet,” a producer from California who completed the six-day program said.

Another producer who, after the program, returned to immediately oversee the olive harvest in Turkey said, “I have learned much more than I expected. It was a very well structured and organized course.”

24-achieve-olive-oil-sommelier-certification-after-intensive-week-in-california

“An awesome course,” said a corporate chef who splits his time between California and Australia. “Very excited to stay in touch with all of my new colleagues and educate more and more.”

The program’s instructors included the Chilean expert Carola Dummer Medina; the consultant, EVOO judge and educator from Italy, Antonio G. Lauro; New York-based oleologist Nicholas Coleman; Greek agronomist, consultant and expert taster Konstantinos Liris; award-winning California olive oil producer Pablo Voitzuk; the International Culinary Center culinary director Marc Pavlovic; Agbiolab founders Liliana Scarafia and Carlos Machado; and Cord, the publisher of Olive Oil Times and president of the New York International Olive Oil Competition.

The next course will begin April 30 in New York, following the 2018 NYIOOC.

Below are the 24 olive oil sommeliers who successfully completed the two-level program:


October 2017 Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program

Bahar Alan
Marcus Chapman
Gregory Diharce
Mara Drew
Jane Duffy
Saida El Kiram
Roseanne Fischer
Sheila Fitzgerald
Michael Graham
Brett Greenberg
Trey Hartinger
Larissa Iracheta
Jodi Kiel Seely
James Lee
Alena Lehrer
Stavros Manolakos
Christine Mole
Kevin O’connor
Roderick O’sullivan
Frank Pinto
Daniel Santini
Ejder Varol
Leonard Young
Man Sang Yuen




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Spain Tests Artificial Intelligence to Manage Fly

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For the second consecutive year, Spain’s agricultural ministry has launched a pilot experiment using artificial intelligence to predict the evolution of the olive fly.

The experiment uses data collected on the olive fly by the Andalusian Plant Protection and Information Network (RAIF), a project of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development. The data are analyzed and fed into an artificial intelligence model that can predict the fly’s behavior up to four weeks in advance by using machine learning techniques.

This method provides a valuable tool for olive farmers to better manage the pest by revealing the areas and dates of the greatest risk of infestation. This also allows for the more efficient planning and designing of measures to control the pest. The aim of this predictive model using artificial intelligence is to ultimately improve production and reduce the use of pesticides.

Those benefiting from the pilot project are Integrated Production Associations (APIs) made up of olive growers working in 10 municipalities in the province of Jaén and nine in the province of Cordoba in southern Spain. This includes 12 APIs made up of a total number of 1,568 farmers with a total of 9,000 hectares of olive groves.

The RAIF network collects data and provides information on the phytosanitary status of the main crops of the Andalusian region thanks to close to 700 field technicians and 4,621 control stations located in each province. There are also 150 weather stations recording information on the climatic situation in each crop area. Meanwhile, technicians posted at each control station take note of potential pests or diseases.

Each week, the associations of growers will receive information predicting the percentage of their crop susceptible to the olive fly so that they can better plan pest management for that week. In return, the APIs are expected to report back with their observations so that the predictive model can be further improved.

The olive fly is a species of fruit fly and a dreaded pest for olive growers across the Mediterranean region because of the severe damage it can cause to their crops. The pest was partly to blame for poor yields during the 2014-2015 harvest season which saw production decrease by more than 50 percent in Spain and Italy, the world’s biggest olive producers.




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Olive Oil Importers Name New Director

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The North American Olive Oil Association has named Joseph R. Profaci executive director of the trade group of major American olive oil importers. The position was previously held by Eryn Balch.

It is clear that the ‘fake news’ epidemic in the United States is not limited to those seeking to gain political advantages.– Joseph R. Profaci

“I am very proud to be leading the NAOOA. This role is the culmination of my 25 years in this business, and I feel well prepared to tackle the biggest issue the industry is facing, which we believe is consumer confidence and trust,” Profaci told Olive Oil Times.

Joseph R. Profaci is a Harvard and New York University-educated attorney who has served as the general counsel for Colavita USA, the company based in New Jersey founded by his father, John J. Profaci who began a partnership with Enrico Colavita in 1980 to distribute the brand in the U.S.

Profaci’s family history in the olive oil business goes back to another era: His grandfather, Joseph Profaci, was the founder of one of New York’s “five crime families” known as the Colombos, and the inspiration for Marlon Brando’s character in “The Godfather.” He was at one time the country’s most notorious racketeer known as the “Olive Oil King” and “Don Peppino.”

In 2010, John J. Profaci’s son, John Profaci Jr. told the New York Post about the family’s evolution to ‘legitimate’ businesses: “We’ve gone so far, our family has, since those days. We all went to good colleges and got good educations. We are businessmen . . . That’s so far removed from our past.”

“My grandfather died in 1962, when I was two years old,” Joseph R. Profaci told Olive Oil Times. “Sixteen years later, in 1978, my dad, John J. Profaci, was working as a food broker when he had the good fortune of being introduced to Enrico Colavita who was traveling in New York on his honeymoon. Suddenly, my dad was in the olive oil business, and he, too, faced the same questions – and not a few undeserved comments about the past.”

“We’re proud of the respect that we’ve worked for and won, and I would hope to be judged on my own merits rather than outdated and disconnected stereotypes,” he added.

Profaci, who started yesterday in his new role, leads a trade group that has taken an increasingly offensive stance against what it sees as inaccurate statements that have damaged the reputation of imported olive oils.

“At this point last year, the olive oil association was reeling from the recent report of olive oil fraud on CBS’s 60 Minutes,” Profaci wrote recently in the Association of Food Industries (AFI) annual report. “As a result our members challenged the association to devise a strategic plan both to respond to continued attacks against imported olive oil, and to redouble our efforts to promote positive news about the category.”
See more: ’60 Minutes’ Looks at Olive Oil Adulteration in Italy
In November 2016, the group sued television’s ‘Dr. Oz’ for claiming during a show that aired in May 2016 that 80 percent of the extra virgin olive oil sold in U. S. supermarkets isn’t “real.” That suit was dismissed last March.

“The association was disappointed in and disagreed with the judge’s dismissal,” Profaci said today. “But after the NAOOA filed a notice of appeal, the parties reached an amicable settlement. Dr. Oz is committed to our cause of protecting consumers from fraud — including deceptive misinformation — and we are grateful for that.”

In December last year, the group filed a lawsuit against the California-based, specialty store distributor Veronica Foods for what it called “false, misleading and scientifically unsubstantiated statements about olive oil sold in supermarkets, claiming it lacks the health benefits consumers expect.” That case is ongoing and Profaci declined to comment on the proceedings.

Profaci described the association’s key issues in his report to the AFI: “There are three main branches in our olive oil strategy: defend against attacks; science and standards; and communications. It is clear that the ‘fake news’ epidemic in the United States is not limited to those seeking to gain political advantages.”

“The good thing is that people are truly passionate about olive oil,” he noted. “The challenge is making sure that they are well enough informed to know if they are being misled, whether it be in a clickbait fake news posting on Facebook or on a product label.”

The group has engaged in lobbying initiatives on issues such as Farm Bill legislation and quality testing programs. “The NAOOA began working closely with Washington D.C. consultants to help us educate lawmakers about the current state of affairs. As a result of those efforts, the draft Senate Agricultural Committee appropriations report included language that the FDA should conduct testing of all products (and not just imports),” Profaci wrote.

The protectionist discourse of the Trump administration has also served as a call to action for the trade group according to Profaci, who said, “We must remain vigilant of obstacles that might be erected in light of anti-trade rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign, both in terms of import regulations and tax policy.”

Profaci served as the NAOOA chair until June 2017, according to a press statement provided to Olive Oil Times. Media were invited to contact Greg Drescher at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) as a reference on Profaci.

In 1991, Colavita USA donated $2 million to the Culinary Institute in exchange for the naming rights to a new campus building, the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine. In 2010, John J. Profaci was inducted into the CIA Hall of Fame.




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EU Report Predicts 45-Percent Increase in Olive Oil Exports by 2026

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A new report by the European Parliamentary Research Service provides a comprehensive overview of the European Union’s olive and olive oil sector as well as the current challenges it faces and future prospects.

The European Union is the world’s largest olive oil producer, with 70 to 75 percent of the world’s olive oil supply originating in nine countries: Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta. According to the report, plantations in the EU’s olive-growing regions cover a total area of 5 million hectares with a production value of over €7 billion.

The report shares a few interesting facts and figures about olive oil production in the EU:

  • More than half of the EU’s 5 million hectares of olive plantations are found in Spain.
  • Greece is the only EU country where more than 10 percent of olive groves are reserved for table olives.
  • The largest olive farms are in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.
  • Spain has the largest olive plantations averaging 5.8 hectares in size, followed by Portugal at 2.8 hectares. In other countries, the average plantation size is 2 hectares.
  • 35 percent of Spain’s farm workers work on olive plantations.
  • Most olive farms are small and family-run, with less than 1 percent of workers being non-family members. In Spain, this percentage is 17 percent.
  • Olive and olive oil production made up over 15 percent of agricultural output in Greece and Spain in 2016.
  • Yields average between 2,000 and 2,500 tons per hectare. Spain and Italy tend to experience higher yields but trends indicate that these are increasing in Spain and Portugal while declining in Italy and other countries.
  • In 2016, 74 percent of the EU’s olive oil was produced in Spain while a further 22 percent was divided almost equally between Greece and Italy.
  • The price of table olives has been steadily increasing and ranges from less than €60 per 100 kg in Portugal and Malta to more than €200 in Greece in 2016.
  • The price of extra virgin olive oil ranges from more than €300 per 100 liters in Spain, Greece and Portugal, to more than €500 in Italy in 2015. Prices in Croatia and Slovenia are up to 100 percent more expensive.
  • Most EU exports of olive oil are headed for the USA, Japan, China, Canada, Brazil and Australia.
  • Most imports come from Tunisia, Morocco and Syria and are headed to Spain and Italy.
  • Italy is the highest importer of olive oil within the EU, with most imports coming from Spain.

The report also outlines a few of the main challenges faced by the EU’s olive sector. It notes that while production processes remain largely traditional, in Spain and Portugal there’s a trend towards increasing the size of plantations and introducing mechanization. A Spanish research study concluded that this approach is not a “one-size fits all solution” and suggests that plantations could increase profits and avoid market volatility by focusing on innovative harvesting solutions, new cultivars, and pest management.


© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council


Market fluctuations due to the unpredictability of yields, extreme weather and disease were some of the biggest challenges faced by countries in the EU’s olive-growing region in recent years. An attempt is being made to address these issues through the risk-management instruments available to farmers under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), while other initiatives aim to tackle food fraud and disputes on the application of commercial rules, and strengthen competitivity.

Looking to the future, the report forecasts that EU production is set to rise, especially in Spain where it is projected to increase by 10 percent by 2026, while Italy is expected to see a decline of one percent. Meanwhile, in terms of international trade, exports are predicted to rise over 45 percent by 2026.

In order to reach these goals, financing is being dedicated to research into improving several aspects of the production chain, including sustainability and pest control, preventing fraud, and the recycling of waste.

The full report is available here.



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‘Apocalyptic’ Scenes in Napa and Sonoma

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More than a dozen wildfires continued to devastate swaths of Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California today, scorching over 100,000 acres of homes, businesses, vineyards and olive groves.

I just heard that one of our smaller producers lost her home in Santa Rosa. This is devastating to all of the communities affected. We are hopeful that everyone is safe.– Patricia Darragh, COOC

At least 11 people have died and 20,000 are homeless, according to the latest estimate from the State of California, within the two stunningly beautiful valleys famous for their wines and increasingly known for olive oil too.

Olive Oil Times has checked in with a number of producers in the region, who reported “apocalyptic” scenes, olive trees coated with ash and soot, and communities in shock.

Firefighters contained some of the fires today as winds that had fanned the flames subsided overnight, but many had yet to be tamed.

Many have yet to return to their homes after forced evacuations and don’t know if their houses and belongings were spared or destroyed.

Patricia Darragh, the director of the California Olive Oil Council said it was too soon to tell how most in the close-knit community of growers have fared.

“Since the fires are still raging, communications are spotty. We have been sending emails and texts to our members and, as of this morning, all are safe but many have been evacuated from their homes,” Darragh said today.

“I just heard that one of our smaller producers lost her home in Santa Rosa. This is devastating to all of the communities affected. We are hopeful that everyone is safe.”

An assessment of property and agricultural damage will be forthcoming as communications improve, she added.

Sonoma County-based consultant Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne also said those in her network she has been able to reach were safe, but several colleagues lost their homes. “Today I think we will get a better handle on the extent of the damage,” she added, “but it’s ongoing.”

According to CNN, nearly 35,000 are without power throughout the state and more than 1,500 homes and businesses were destroyed.

No rain is in the forecast for the region over the next seven days.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.




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World Olive Oil Production Figures for 2017 Show Mixed Results

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Global olive oil production will reach 2.854 million tons for the current crop year (September 2017 through August 2018), according to preliminary estimates from the International Olive Council — a 12-percent increase over the previous year’s 2.538 million-ton output.

World production in 2017/18 is estimated at around 2.854t, which would be an increase of approximately 12 percent compared to the previous year.– International Olive Council

The current season looks mediocre when compared with the average for the last five years (2.945 million tons) after heat waves and droughts affected some areas over the summer, falling short of the 3 million-ton benchmark reached in six years since 2004.


© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council


See more: Complete Coverage of the 2017 Olive Harvest
This year, Spain is expected to weigh in with 1.150 million tons — 10 percent less than last year. Italy is expected to produce 320,000 tons, representing a 75-percent increase over the poor results of the previous season.

Greece is back with 300,000 tons expected this year, rebounding from last season’s poor results blamed on fruit fly attacks and extended heat waves.

Portugal could set its all-time record if it achieves the 110,000 tons forecasted thanks to extensive plantings in the Alentejo region, the IOC noted.

Tunisia will more than double last year’s production to reach 220,000 tons; Output from Turkey will be stable at 180,000 tons; Morocco looks to be a little up this year with 120,000 tons, and Algeria weighs in with 80,000.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina would set a record with 37,500 tons expected this season.

On the other side, the IOC said the world will consume 2.889 million tons of olive oil this year — about the same as in 2003 when there were 1.2 billion fewer people on the planet.




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Tunisia: olive oil production set to rise 20 to 30%

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According to a recent study conducted in Italy, phenols from olive vegetation water can be effective natural preservatives in fresh...

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California Olive Ranch Pursues Regenerative Agriculture

This is the second installment in a series of articles on California Olive Ranch, the largest American olive oil producer....

Business2 months ago

24 Achieve Olive Oil Sommelier Certification After Intensive Week in California

Twenty-four people came from as far as Hong Kong, Greece and Turkey to gain a deeper understanding of olive oil...

Business2 months ago

Spain Tests Artificial Intelligence to Manage Fly

For the second consecutive year, Spain’s agricultural ministry has launched a pilot experiment using artificial intelligence to predict the evolution...

Business2 months ago

Olive Oil Importers Name New Director

The North American Olive Oil Association has named Joseph R. Profaci executive director of the trade group of major American...

Business2 months ago

EU Report Predicts 45-Percent Increase in Olive Oil Exports by 2026

A new report by the European Parliamentary Research Service provides a comprehensive overview of the European Union’s olive and olive...

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‘Apocalyptic’ Scenes in Napa and Sonoma

More than a dozen wildfires continued to devastate swaths of Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California today, scorching over...

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World Olive Oil Production Figures for 2017 Show Mixed Results

Global olive oil production will reach 2.854 million tons for the current crop year (September 2017 through August 2018), according...

Business2 months ago

2nd ‘Food Values’ Conference Held in Tuscany

The second International Conference on the Mediterranean Diet, ‘Inspiring a Renaissance of Food Values’ was held October 6-7 at Villa...

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