Climate change threatens olive oil reserves in the Mediterranean basin

Rome — He climate change threatens the production of olive oil throughout the Mediterranean basin, including Italy and Spainwhich will be affected by drought and extreme weather, according to what the Italian associations of oil producers and consumers have assured EFE.

According to the latest official data, relating to the month of April, Olive oil reserves in Italy, the second largest producer in the world behind Spain, decreased by 8% and stood at 223,409 tons, 23.8% less compared to the same period last year.

Extra virgin olive oil accounts for 73% of these reserves, with 68.5% of Italian origin and 22% coming from other countries in the European Union, reveals the report published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

Italian oil companies need close to a million tons, far above what our crops can offer“, according to the director of the oil industry association Assitol, Andrea Carrassi, while Gianfranco Laccone, member of the presidency of the consumer association ACU, highlights that “imports are always needed to supply the Italian market.”

Climate change “it really complicates making forecasts” regarding production, the director of Assitol tells EFE but believes that “the forecasts for the 2024-2025 campaign are positive.”

Rain is a key climatic agent for olive cultivation and currently “There is either a lot of water or little water, never a good distribution” from the rainfall, explains Laccone and Carrassi highlights that they have had “splendid blooms ruined by torrential rains.”

Besides, “Temperatures have modified the biological cycle of insects and due to globalization others have arrived that did not exist before.”, specifies the ACU manager.

For consumers, “the difficulty is in the price of supermarkets,” says Laccone, who considers it possible to “have lower prices” for olive oil without losing quality and emphasizes the need for greater transparency. and more requirements in certification to “better value the quality of the product.”