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This year in Tuscany the olive oil production might decrease by 20% compared to 2018, especially in the interior. The situation looks better on the coastal areas, from Livorno to Grosseto.

This is what emerges from a survey carried out by Fedagri Confcooperative Toscana among the local producers, to evaluate this year´s situation. These forecasts take into account the bad weather of the last few days, that caused serious problems to the crops.

“In the areas where it hailed, we found damages that, if not recovered, might put at risk at least 50% of the production in certain areas”, the Vice president of Fedagli Confcooperative Toscana and President of the Cantina Sociale Colli Fiorentini Ritano Baragli explains.

“Obviously these are just estimates, and we’ll have to wait and see what the weather does – he continues. Last year after some negative predictions, the weather changed for the best and the situation improved decisively. We hope the same happens this year, because after the recent bad weather conditions, the damages are serious”.
Bad weather after an intense heat wave affected the plants “right at the delicate phase of the fruit set. This has caused olives to fall in great numbers”.

Ritano Baragli

If you want to look at the bright side – Baragli explains – “high temperatures stop the proliferation of the dreaded fly, and guarantee the quality of the product”.

“In Tuscany there are certain areas that are very dry and others where it rains more – the vicepresident continues – we have many different climatic zones in the region. In the interior we have traditional, even obsolete, crops, that aren´t easy to modernise, and these are suffering more. On the other hands, we have intensive crops, such as in the Grosseto area, where a strategy has been carried out, a project that allowed a serious renewal of the crops, with modern and mechanised cultivation methods. This should be done everywhere, where possible, but it requires will”.

Bad news about the price of Tuscan Igp olive oil.

“With reference to the 2018 production – Baragli explains – there are still stocks that are difficult to place on the market. The bottling and sales data are not looking good: I don´t think we’ll reach 30 thousand hectolitres of bottled olive oil, which is less than 50% of the olive oil declared to become Igp. Next year, we expect a further decline, due to the increase of production in the coastal areas, where they have new mechanised facilities. We need new, alternative markets”.

But these opportunities don’t exist, and this doesn’t only affect Tuscany, but the whole of Italy.

“The numbers speak for themselves – concludes Baragli – In 2018 Italy produced just over 200 thousand tons of olive oil, Spain almost 2 millions. We´re losing ground in an already difficult market, where the consumers are not willing to spend much for a good olive oil. This doesn´t happen with wine though”.