Olive oil production in Greece is expected to be half of last year’s record crop this year, according to final estimates reported by Olive Oil Times.

According to data published by the European Commission, Greece’s olive oil crop would be around 175,000 tonnes this year – the lowest volume in the last six years – compared to last year’s record harvest of around 340,000 tonnes.

Earlier estimates had forecast a harvest of around 200,000 tonnes this year, the 19 February report said.

The difference in estimates was due to erratic weather patterns at the time of harvesting, Olive Oil Times wrote.

“This has been one of the worst harvests in the last 30 years,” Periklis Tsoukalas, a producer and miller from the Ilia region in the Peloponnese, was quoted as saying.

“The initial estimates of 17,000 tonnes of olive oil in the region should be revised downward to around 14,000 tonnes.”

Quality consultant and olive oil taster Nikos Koutsoukos, a trained chemist with more than 25 years of experience in the Greek olive oil sector, was quoted as saying there had been a sharp decline in olive oil production in the country’s main producing regions.

“On the Peloponnese peninsula, production in the northern regions will fare close to just 20%-30% of last year’s yield,” Koutsoukos said.

“Several olive oil mills in these areas did not open this season because of the significantly limited olive harvest.”

The situation is better in the south and southwest of the peninsula, with the regions of Messenia, Ilia and Laconia likely to get 50% of last year’s volume, according to Koutsoukos.

In 2022/23, more than 100,000 tonnes of olive oil were produced in the Peloponnese region, almost a third of total national production, Olive Oil Times wrote.

Koutsoukos also confirmed a drop in production in Crete, which was traditionally a hub of the Greek olive oil industry.

“I recently visited the island and witnessed a steep drop of 60%-70% in production in most areas,” he said.

However, production figures in Chania looked slightly more optimistic, with the yield expected to total around 17,000 tonnes compared to 28,000 tonnes last year.

“We expect to get 60% of last year’s yield,” Yiannis Mamidakis, from the local department of agriculture, was quoted as saying. “In other regions [in Crete], the drop in production will be higher this season.”

According to other industry experts on the island, production will barely reach 30,000 tonnes compared to 130,000 tonnes in 2022/23.

Olive oil production in northern Greece was also very limited and was not likely to exceed 30% of last year’s yield, Koutsoukos added.

“We will have more precise figures for the whole country when we get the official estimates from the regional agricultural departments,” he said.

Despite concerns over the impact of pests and diseases, Koutsoukos said olive oil quality remained high in most of the country.