13 Oct

Italy: Olives, olive oil production quality improving, quality down

In the 2006-2007 season, including olive oil and olives, almost 7 million quintals will be produced, a bit less than the previous year and equal to almost two thirds of the national consumption requirements. The value is that of three billion euros, with the aim of a billion in exports.

This is the picture of the sector drawn by a study carried out by the Italian confederation of farmers (CIA) on the 2006-2007 olive oil products season.

“There is an above average quality with quantity slightly reduced compared with the previous year, since the off-year was helped by the olives planted in the 1990, which have begun bearing fruit. The first bottles of this season’s olive oil will begin to be available on the market at the end of October, while there are already abundant green olives available in the warehouse, and soon the black ones will be as well.
” There will be approximately 6 million 300 thousand quintals of oil and over 600,000 ones of olives. Puglia – according to CIA – is the top producer region, followed by Calabria, with which it covers approximately two thirds of the entire national production, followed at a distance by other Italian regions.

Among those is Sicily which, third in oil production, is at the top for olives themselves, with Nocellara del Belice ones from near Trapani being especially popular. Although with limited numbers, interest continues in olive farms in the north-east and in the Piedmont hills.

CIA concluded its analysis by recalling that, at a provincial level, “Bari has 10 pct of the entire Italian surface are dedicated to olive growing, and produces 15 pct of all pressed oil. Lecce and Reggio Calabria, with production levels over 10 pct each, have a large effect on an essential component for the preparation of the product labelled as olive oil, though these areas make up only 8 and 4 pct respectively of national surface area of olive groves.

Crotone has the largest cultivated surface area of olive groves with biological methods, equal to a fourth of provincial surface area.”

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