Olive oil is a luxury item

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From a necessity in every Cypriot kitchen, olive oil is becoming a luxury item as its price has doubled since last year, and farmers’ associations expect to see it reach €10 per litre by the end of the year.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, the head of a farmers’ union, Panagrotikos, Kyriacos Kailas, said that prices will skyrocket as a result of adverse weather in Spain and Italy as well as Cyprus, which are the largest olive oil-producing countries in the world.

Kailas said the price of extra virgin olive has doubled in the last year and called on producers to “respect consumers and not make disproportionate increases in olive oil prices.”

He said the international going rate for olive oil is around €8.60 per litre, explaining that global olive oil production has halved.

“The global market will not be satisfied. The forecast increase in prices is not normal and is worrying.

“Olive oil is a commodity that everyone needs.”

He argued that households are already under stress due to the rising cost of living.

Kailas renewed his union’s call to the government to step in and address the issue of reduced olive oil production.

“Climate change and high temperatures have greatly impacted the issue of fruitlessness in all tree crops”.

Thomas Thoma of the farmers’ union, EKA, said: “No one knows where prices will stop”.

“The lower the production, the more the producer will have to increase the price of the product.”

The olive harvest is set to begin in October or November.

PEK farmers’ union chair Christos Papapetrou said: “Spain is making 50% of its normal production because it experienced severe droughts this year, and its average annual production of 1.3 million tonnes of olive oil will drop to less than 600,000 tonnes”.

Cypriot consumers are under pressure of rising costs following the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Harmonised inflation in August was 3.1%, primarily due to increased food prices.

It ended a continuous 12-month decline since inflation peaked in July 2022 to a record high of 10.6%.