The many challenges olive oil producers are currently facing in Southern Italy have reached a new high: official data show a relevant slowdown in olive oil export from the Puglia region in the first three months of the year.
ISTAT, the National Institute of Statistics, estimated exports in the period had fallen by 10.4 percent compared to the same period last year. Those data are even more relevant considering that Puglia, with its 60 million olive trees, is by far the leading Italian region in terms of olive oil output.
Although they do not come as a surprise given the conditions of the international market in the COVID-19 era, the new figures alarm growers.
The Apulian branch of the farmers association Coldiretti warned that the export collapse adds to an already dire scenario for sales and prices.
Coldiretti noted that olive oil storage facilities in Puglia are full. According to the official data released by the Ministry of Agriculture special observatory on olive oil, more than 70 million liters of extra virgin olive oil are currently stored — a 128 ‑percent increase over last year.
Savino Muraglia, Coldiretti Puglia’s president, blamed the COVID-19 lockdown for restaurants and food venues for the skyrocketing storage.
Muraglia called for “new informative and cultural campaigns both on regional and national levels that in the next five…
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