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Evo oil: annual increase expected (+20%) but it is too early to claim victory

The study presented to the European Parliament finds a general crisis, with Portugal bucking the trend

The conference entitled: "Health and Economy: the Hidden Virtues of Extra Virgin Olive Oil" took place on Monday in Brussels, at the European Parliament. The event, organized by the European parliamentarian Daniela Rondinelli , saw the participation of entities and organizations prestigious in the field, including the Carapelli Nutrition Institute Foundation, Assitol, Confagricoltura, Cia - Italian Farmers, Interprofesional Aceite de Oliva España, Deoleo and

The speakers, in agreement, highlighted the socio-economic value of extra virgin olive oil: promoting the nutritional excellence of extra virgin olive oil and its related beneficial effects is a central lever in promoting consumption, through a new vision useful to the sector, which for the first time brings together scientific research and market dynamics.

But today the diet of European citizens still does not benefit from a food so important for public health, as Michele Carruba , president of the Scientific Committee of the Carapelli Foundation Onlus Nutritional Institute, warned during the event: “Only 46.6% of Italians (highest share in Europe) consume the recommended daily dose of 3 portions of olive oil. Less than 15% (14.8%) consume four portions. The remaining 38.6% (lowest share in Europe) consumes less than the recommended portions."

Meanwhile, the oil supply chain faces epochal challenges due to climate change, which is reducing production and increasing costs, directly influencing the availability of this product essential for healthy eating. Despite advances in terms of innovation and technology, production remains lower than average in the Mediterranean regions due to the rapidity and dramatic nature of climate change.

2023 does not foresee such a drastic drop in production as in 2022, however the situation remains critical. For the 2023-2024 olive oil campaign, production is estimated to be even lower than average throughout the Mediterranean area. Italy expects to produce around 289 thousand tonnes of oil, a 20% increase compared to the previous year, but still lower than the 350 thousand tonnes of the best years. This volume is not sufficient to satisfy the demand of the Italian oil industry, which requires approximately 1 million tonnes, between internal consumption and exports.

Even Spain, a world leader in oil production, has been strongly affected by the water crisis due to drought. For the second consecutive year, its production will not exceed 765 thousand tons, almost halving the usual yield. In Greece, production was reduced to 260,000 tonnes, a 25% decrease due to drought and fires. Going against the trend, Portugal expects an increase of almost 20%, reaching 150 thousand tonnes. Tunisia expects to return to 200,000 tonnes, while Turkey and Morocco have temporarily suspended exports to the European Union due to low availability.

This reduction in production limits consumer access to this fundamental natural food, essential for fighting obesity and non-communicable diseases. The experts launch a unanimous appeal: it is crucial to adopt education and incentive policies to guarantee access to quality EVO oil. The situation requires a global response, not only to preserve a vital manufacturing sector, but also to promote public health.

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EFA News - European Food Agency