ECONOMY

Olive oil promotion goes beyond Europe

Greek olive oil will be promoted in four more countries – the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway – via programs worth 1 million euros, realized by the Greek Association of Industries and Processors of Olive Oil (SEVITEL) and funded by the EU and the Ministry of Agricultural Development. «Coordination is essential for all parallel activities, made in fragmentary fashion by various ministries that are jointly competent; equally essential is the drafting of a long-term national strategy for our national product,» SEVITEL President Grigoris Antoniades stated. The program will include advertising in the press and selected public relations promotional activities. During the campaign, the public’s attention will be drawn to the qualitative categories of standardized olive oil – Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) – which the EU has created to protect varied agricultural products characterized by their superior quality. This second program complements the effort that SEVITEL has also begun to promote standardized olive oil in Greece and 10 EU countries. The «Kotinos» program began in January and will last until December 2007. The olive oil producers asked the state to actively support promotional activity, noting that standardized olive oil exports have remained at just 10,000 tons, just 2.5 percent of domestic production. Nevertheless, local production shrank by 23.3 percent in the 2003-2004 period compared to the year before, while domestic consumption has remained stable over the last two years, according to an ICAP survey. It also recorded a fall in sales of locally produced olives by 6.5 percent year-on-year, while olive consumption in Greece fell by 4 percent annually. There was, however, an 11 percent rise in refined pomace oil production compared to 2002-3 and a 14 percent rise in its consumption. Regarding the sector’s prospects for the 2004-5 and 2005-6 periods, domestic olive oil consumption is forecast to rise by an average 3 percent per year, while the pomace oil market will expand by 7 to 8 percent annually. The production of edible olives will record an average yearly rise of 10 percent, with its domestic consumption growing by a slightly smaller rate. The survey also found that in the last two periods, standardized olive oil consumption covered 25 to 27 percent of the total market; olive oil in bulk was 33-35 percent, while the remaining 40 percent was growers’ home consumption.