HomeEconomy'No longer winter at all': Climate change hits Greek olive crop

‘No longer winter at all’: Climate change hits Greek olive crop


Popular News

Zaharoula Vassilaki, an natural farmer from Greece, gazes admiringly at an enormous olive tree on her land, estimated to be over two centuries previous. Despite being struck by lightning years in the past, the tree continues to yield.

But local weather change – on this case, the absence of deep winter – is proving an excessive amount of for even this gnarled veteran to deal with.

“The climate has changed and the trees cannot cope with these big changes. We no longer have winter at all,” she instructed Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In mid-November, the temperature within the Halkidiki area of Polygyros, northern Greece, was nonetheless over 15 levels Celsius (59 levels Fahrenheit).

“I consider climate change the main challenge this season,” famous Nikos Anoixas, a board member of Doepel, the Greek nationwide interprofessional group for desk olives.

“At this time, temperatures should be 10 degrees Celsius … the year is already lost, and we fear next year will be similar. I don’t even want to think what will happen if another such year follows,” Anoixas mentioned.

A farmer drives his tractor past olive trees in a field, near the city of Polygyros in the Halkidiki region, Greece, Nov. 14, 2023. (AFP Photo)

Vangelis Evangelinos has been rising edible olives on his household land in Halkidiki, northern Greece, since childhood.

At 62, he doesn’t recall hostile climate situations resembling those his space has endured this yr – or such a poor crop – ever earlier than.

“We’ve never had a year such as this,” Evangelinos instructed AFP, two months after the Thessaly area, to the south, was devastated by large floods.

“The rainfall is intense and brief,” the alternative of what’s wanted to counterpoint the soil,” he mentioned.

The heat climate has affected some 6 million timber within the area, in line with producers and consultants.

“This year, the phenomenon of ‘fruitlessness’ was very intense, but it is an issue that we have noticed mainly in the last five years,” mentioned Vassilaki, 48.

The European Union’s olive manufacturing giants Italy and Spain have confronted comparable issues, pushing up costs.

Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil, suffered a really tough yr in 2022, and drought this yr has compounded the issue.

In Italy, this yr’s olive harvest is down by an estimated 80%, in line with producers.

The EU estimates international olive oil manufacturing will fall greater than 26% in 2022-2023 in comparison with a yr earlier, to only over 2.5 million tons.

In the EU itself, manufacturing is predicted to drop 39%.

‘No winter in any respect’

“The old growers here say it is very important for the trees to rest in the winter. It takes about one to two months of good cold weather for the tree to rest … so that it can yield later,” Vassilaki mentioned.

Athanassios Molassiotis, an agronomist and head of the arboriculture lab of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, mentioned his group recorded a rise in temperature of two levels throughout October, November and December 2022 in comparison with a yr earlier.

This affected the olive buds “because we know that the tree bears fruit after cold winters, especially the Halkidiki variety, which has high requirements at low temperatures in winter,” he mentioned.

“We found that in many trees, there was no flowering and therefore no fruit afterward,” Molassiotis mentioned.

Halkidiki accounts for round half of edible desk olives produced in Greece.

A field with new olive trees is seen near the city of Polygyros in the Halkidiki region, Greece, Nov. 14, 2023. (AFP Photo)

A field with aged olive trees is seen near the city of Polygyros in the Halkidiki region, Greece, Nov. 14, 2023. (AFP Photo)

According to the regional Chamber of Commerce, greater than 20,000 native producers domesticate 330,000 acres of olive timber within the space, producing a median of 120,000 to 150,000 tons of edible desk olives yearly.

More than 150 firms are lively in olive processing and advertising and marketing, and greater than 90% of the merchandise produced are exported worldwide to Brazil, China, and Australia.

This yr, nonetheless, the crop scarcity has typically exceeded 90%, plunging sector entrepreneurs into despair.

‘Things will worsen’

“I’m afraid things will get worse in the future,” mentioned Chamber President Yiannis Koufidis, noting the financial affect on growers has been “huge,” with a lack of some 200 million euros ($219 million) simply in Halkidiki Prefecture alone.

In many circumstances, growers didn’t deem it well worth the bother to reap their estates.

At the native olive processing unit, which additionally handles consumption from throughout the nation, administration says manufacturing is down at the least 60%.

A local weather change research for the Halkidiki space in January confirmed the native common temperature is predicted to extend by 1.5 to 2 levels Celsius in coming years, in line with the best-case state of affairs.

At worst, it could possibly be 3 levels.

Aristotelio University’s research additionally predicts much less rain.

It warned that the general “thermal stress” is in the end anticipated to affect fruit high quality.

And as a result of Halkidiki can be one in all Greece’s essential tourism locations, there’s an added draw on the world’s water assets, mentioned research writer Christina Anagnostopoulou.

“Climate changes will happen. We need to learn and prepare to reduce the effects,” the climatology professor instructed AFP.

Koufidis mentioned the Halkidiki chamber is working with the college to create a variant of the native olive selection that requires much less wintry climate.

“It’s a very difficult project. But we can’t stand idly by,” he mentioned.

Source: www.dailysabah.com

Latest News


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here