Report Highlights: 

Greece is the world’s third largest olive oil producer after Spain and Italy. According to industry contacts, Greece’s MY2013/14 olive oil production is projected to decline by 57 percent compared to the previous campaign, because of the severe drought of the summer. More than 80 percent of the Greek annual production is extra virgin olive oil. Per capita consumption of olive oil in Greece (20 Kg/year) is one of the highest in the world. Ninety percent of Greek olive oil is exported to the European Union: 80 percent in bulk and 10 percent under Greek brand names.

Production 

Greece is the world’s third largest olive oil producer after Spain and Italy. According to industry contacts, Greece’s MY2013/14 olive oil production is projected to decline by 57 percent compared to the previous campaign, because of the severe drought of the summer. 

Greek olive oil production capacity is estimated at 400,000 MT per year. Greece devotes 60 percent of its cultivated land to olive growing. There are approximately 520,000 olive growers, of which 50.5 percent are professional farmers. The large number of olive growers in relation to the cultivated land (1,200,000 hectares) reveals that there is no large-scale industrialized olive farming. This means that olive cultivation ―although systematic and much improved by the application of recent technological developments and scientific progress― remains a ‘family affair’. Olive oil production is scattered all over the country, even though the Peloponnese and Crete account for over 65 percent of the total output. Koroneiki is the major olive variety grown in Greece. It originates from the area of Korone in Messenia (Peloponnese) and is grown on the island of Crete and around the Mediterranean. Koroneiki olives have a very small size, a fruity flavor, and produce a high quality olive oil, with a unique smooth taste and a golden-green color. 

Other prominent olive varieties for the production of olive oil include: Lianolia, Konservolia, Tsounati, Megaritiki, Valanolia, Andramytini, Chalkidiki, Matolia, and Kalamon. Olive trees are slow to grow, taking four to five years to yield their first fruits and another 10 to 15 to reach their full capacity. Olive harvest occurs from October to January ―depending on autumn rainfall― and may even go on into February. Farmers regularly tend small groves of trees in remote areas; olives are handpicked, and the crop is pressed on the day of picking. Product quality is usually very high: in a good year, the percentage of low acidity olive oils with excellent organoleptic characteristics can go as high as 80 percent. In average years it fluctuates between 65-70 percent. 

Consumption 

Per capita consumption of olive oil in Greece (20 Kg/year) is one of the highest in the world. Olive oil is the main fat used in Greek cooking. It is also perceived to be the 

healthiest one. Despite the reduction of consumers’ disposable income―as a consequence of the economic crisis―Greek consumption of olive oil remains steady. 

Trade 

Ninety percent of the Greek olive oil is exported to the European Union: 80 percent in bulk and 10 percent under Greek brand names. Greece’s MY2012/13 olive oil exports reached 192,119 MT, mainly because of increased exports to Italy and Spain, the leading destinations. Greece’s MY2012/13 olive oil exports to third countries increased by 10 percent (17,591 MT), mainly to the United States and Russia. Greece imports small quantities of olive oil mainly from Spain and Italy.

Abbreviations and definitions used in this report 

MT Metric ton = 1,000 kg 

MY Marketing year: November/October 

HS codes: 15091010; 15091090; 15099000