The plunging price of olive oil is putting pressure on Spain’s farmers.
Selling for as little as 65 euro cents a litre in supermarkets – less than it costs to produce – the farmers say their industry has lost nearly two billion euros over the last three seasons.
They want the Spanish government to put pressure on the European Union to change the rules so that oil can be bulk stored until prices recover.
Spain’s environment minister Rosa Aguilar met with the farmers’ representatives and afterwards said: “We’re looking at the possibility of private bulk storage because we can’t deny the reality of the situation. Olive oil is a leading product and if it is cheaper then people expect the price of other foods to come down.”
Critics said the olive oil farmers have got themselves into this situation through over production.
After meeting with the minister to ask for help, Rafael Civantos of the COAG farmers’ union said bulk storage is the only answer: “We think it is the only thing that can raise prices. That is what happened in 2009 when they allowed private storage and this way we’ll avoid the constant losses we’ve experienced over the last three season.”
Olive oil prices have gradually slipped over the last five year due to increased world output, according to the Madrid-based International Olive Council.