Olive farmers in Spain’s Costa Blanca and Valencia areas set to forget harvest as production costs soar

OLIVE farmers in the Valencian Community may forget this year’s harvest as the costs of olive-picking and making olive oil are too high.

Extreme weather conditions in the last four months have caused a massive fall in the number of available olives.

Luis Julian Perez from the Valencian Association of Farmers told the ABC newspaper: “In some inland regions of Valencia such as Utiel-Requena there is no harvest, or there will be so little that it will not be feasible to collect it.”

“The wages of the pickers and oil mill charges would cost more than the price obtained for such a small quantity of olives,” he added.

The problem is widespread across the Valencian Community, observed Julian Perez.

“In the very best cases, oil mills could open for a few days to bring in the harvests from fields that have enough olives, but we do not expect to benefit at all from the high prices that the olive oil market is generating,” he bemoaned.

Olive farming costs have practically doubled in a year including the costs of fertilisers and fungicide treatments.

The major problem though has been the extremities of weather this year.

Persistent rain during April and May helped boost virulent attacks by repilo, a fungus that decimates leaves and weakens olive trees.

Then the lack of rain and successive heatwaves meant olives fell to the ground early due to the water stress of trees.

The Valencian Association of Farmers has asked the central and regional governments for financial help to stem the serious production losses and the extra costs caused by the heatwave.

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