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Agricultural union says Italian olive oil farmers lost 2 billion euros due to coronavirus

Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 5, 2020
A dramatic drop-off in demand for Italian olive oil amid the coronavirus pandemic has put the owners of more than 400,000 olive growers of all sizes at risk of financial collapse, Italy's main agricultural union Coldiretti said in a study released Friday.
Italy olive field
Coldiretti   Italy olive field
Coldiretti said that farmers cultivating some 250 million olive plants all across Italy have so far lost a combined 2 billion euros (2.25 billion U.S. dollars) due to the crisis.

Topics: Italian olive oil

Coldiretti studied the impact on the nation's olive growers together with researchers from Unaprol, the country's largest association of olive growers.

Coldiretti and Unaprol said the worldwide economic slowdown combined with the national coronavirus lockdown and the ensuing lack of tourism dealt an economic blow to farmers.

The study said lower demand has pushed prices as much as 44 percent lower.

Coldiretti urged for the implementation of a rescue plan, which calls for streamlining of quality control procedures and financial support for producers facing economic difficulties.

Italian olive oil producers have faced a series of obstacles over the last two years, including harsh weather in 2018 and tariffs on exports to the United States. In addition to the issues related to demand and distribution this year, the coronavirus pandemic also made it more difficult for farmers to find the workers needed to pick olives.

Italy is Europe's third-largest producer of olive oil by volume, behind Spain and Greece, according to data firm Statistica.