Olive oil exports drive growth in Greek agri-food sector

Olive oil was the main driving force behind the growth of Greece’s agri-food exports in 2018, according to a new report from the Exporters Association of Northern Greece (SEVE).

The report said agricultural and food products represented 16.2% of Greece’s exportable goods, and were valued at €5.43bn (US$6.12bn) in 2018, compared to €5.08bn (US$5.73bn) the previous year.

At the same time, exports of virgin and extra virgin olive oil peaked at €530M (US$598M) compared to €413M (US$466M) the previous season, mostly due to increased demand from Italy, Olive Oil Times said on 17 April.

This translated to an increased value of €117M (US$132M) for olive oil in 2018, Olive Oil Times wrote, adding that olive oil was Greece’s fourth largest exported product in terms of worth and significance, after petroleum, pharmaceutical products and aluminium commodities.

Standard olive oil maintained a volume of more than 30,000 tonnes of exports each season during recent years, compared to only 15,000 tonnes in the past.

However, the latest estimates for the 2018/19 season forecast production of olive oil to be at 140,000 tonnes for the whole country, lower than an expected 200,000 tonnes.

The increase in exports of olive oil and other food products in 2018 was not reflected in the penetration of new foreign markets, according to the Association of Greek Industries. Penetration into these markets remained low due to world exports increasing at a higher rate than Greece’s.