Olive Harvests – Record-Low Because of Climate Change
Olive harvests are in trouble because of anomalous weather patterns: this season, had the worst harvest in 25 years, a 57 percent drop from the previous season, to 185,000 tons, according to Coldiretti, the Italian farming group.
Climate change is affecting global food production in a worrisome way. If you haven’t heard so far, coffee is in trouble, and so is chocolate. And we don’t know if we have time to solve the problems that are plaguing us at alarming speeds. After these items, it’s time for all who follow the Mediterranean diet to be worried about the production of olive oil. In this case, writes The Times, Italy will run out of olive oil quite soon, more specifically by April. And this isn’t happening just because last spring the olive harvests were hit by a cold snap killing the blossoms that turn into olives. Another problem was a disease that affected the same harvests.
Why olive harvests are in trouble
“We risk forever losing the chance to consume Italian extra virgin olive oil, which will have disastrous effects on the economy, jobs, health, and the countryside,” Coldiretti said.
For the past 18 months, Italy has been through floods, drought, and freezing temperatures that cost the olive oil industry over $1 billion. “There are clear observational patterns that point to these types of weather extremes as the main drivers of [lower] food productivity,” said Riccardo Valentini, the director of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change, as quoted in the Guardian.
But Italy isn’t the only one who has problems with its olive harvests. Other producing countries are also affected by climate change and unpredictable weather patterns. The European Commission predicts that Greece’s production will be down 42 percent, while Portugal’s 20 percent. One saving grace might be Spain, which the European Commission predicts will turn in better olive harvests, from 1.26 million tons to 1.76 million.