Climate change ‘devastates’ olive oil production in Greece

i24NEWS - Reuters

2 min read
Locals try to extinguish a fire burning on the Mount Taygetus, in Kalamata, Greece, on August 24, 2007.
AFPLocals try to extinguish a fire burning on the Mount Taygetus, in Kalamata, Greece, on August 24, 2007.

A local farmer estimates Kalamata suffered a 50 percent drop in olive production due to climate change

Greece, the world’s third largest olive oil producer, is facing threats to the country’s prized export due to climate change.

“We're witnessing phenomena and problems that we did not see 20 years ago,” olive farmer Michalis Antonopoulos explained.

The farmer produces crops in Kalamata, Greece, a region famous for its olives.

However, Antonopoulos says global warming is posing challenges to his livelihood and hurting production of Kalamata’s regional delicacy.

Soaring temperatures, low rainfall, and heat waves brought by climate shifts damaged his harvest this year, and the hot weather caused wildfires which scorched hundreds of trees on his land.

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Antonopoulos, who leads the local olive growers' cooperative, estimates the region suffered a 50 percent drop in production due to climate change.

“This year has shown us that the tree cannot cope under difficult weather conditions,” the farmer said, adding “This is a classic example of the environmental change we're going through.”

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“The climate crisis devastates everything.”

Though Greece’s 2020 harvest produced over 300,000 tons of olive oil, this year the European Union lowered its forecast for the country to just over 250,000 tons.

The European Commission predicted the olive oil output in Greece will continue to decline with the impact of climate change.