Two of Greece’s olive oil packers’ associations – Sevitel and Esvite – have merged into one under the name of Sevitel, the Association of Greek Industries and Packers of Olive Oil.

According to Panayiotis Karantonis, deputy director of Sevitel and ex-director of Esvite, the associations considered that a single entity representing Greek olive oil packers would be the best solution for the country’s situation, the Olive Oil Times wrote on 27 November.

George Economou, director of Sevitel, said “substantial differences … never existed” between the two associations as their members were tackling the same problems, such as the relatively small volume of branded olive oil consumed domestically and the small share of packed branded Greek oil in the global market.

The first efforts towards joining the associations came in 2012, when Sevitel and Esvite decided to work as equal partners to set up the Greek Center for Exports and Promotion of Olive Oil (EKEPE).

“EKEPE provided the necessary platform for [us] to work together more closely, to understand each other better and, above all, to realise that they were facing the same problems and challenges,” said Karantonis.

Merger talks began in 2015, with the Greek economic crisis also providing additional incentive to join forces as it allowed the united organisation “the benefit of economies of scale”.

“A single association representing the olive oil industry in Greece implies a stronger voice to deal with the challenges Greek olive oil is facing both domestically and abroad,” said Economou.