Trucks carrying olives from the Greek region of Peloponnese – mainly Ilia, Greece – have been ferried across the Adriatic Sea, as traders from Italy have for the first time bought not only olive oil in bulk, but also olives, to cover the loss in Italian production that has reached 35% this year.
Olive presses and producers may be officially denying the olive deliveries, but the Ilia Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Agricultural Development Ministry asking for an intervention should the practice increase and lead to local olive presses suffering.
The purchase of Greek olive oil to be packaged and labeled “made in Italy” is common practice, but it is the first time that the acquisition and shipping of olives as raw materials for Italian olive presses is taking place.
Constantinos Papadopoulos, the owner of an olive press at Pyrgos in Ilia, explained that the Italians have cooperated with some Greeks to secure quantities of olives. Sources say they bought olives without asking too much about the quality, paying 330-450 euros per ton. “These rates are very beneficial for producers as they get cash in hand and do not have to pay for presses,” he said.