Everybody in field for the new vintage.
While waiting to be able to verify in the short term the quantitative and qualitative parameters of what will be remembered forever as the Covid vintage, we compare the forecasts recently represented in one of our articles with those of the national and international press. At the moment there is only one unavoidable condition to the regular execution of the harvesting operations and to the safeguard of the integrity of the harvest still on the plants: the weather conditions!
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The summary of our farmers' forecasts.
The recent survey carried out among the producers of our e-commerce revealed a situation that saw some regions, such as Trentino Alto Adige, Liguria, Umbria, Abruzzo, Molise, Sicily and some areas of Lazio, with optimistic forecasts both qualitative and quantitative, others such as Tuscany, remaining areas of Lazio, Campania and Basilicata with expected quantities decreasing and others, such as Puglia and Calabria, with significant quantitative drops.
The forecasts at national level.
National forecasts, as reported by the specialised press, predict an average drop in production estimated at around twenty per cent compared to 2019, for an expected production, according to an analysis by Coldiretti, Unaprol and Ismea, of around two hundred and ninety thousand tonnes. This is bad news for a supply chain, that of olive oil, which has more than four hundred thousand specialized farms but also the largest number of extra virgin olive oils with denomination in Europe, forty-three DOP and four IGP, with a heritage of two hundred and fifty million trees and more than five hundred and thirty varieties of olives. The most important decrease is expected in the South, without forgetting the effects of Xylella which has devastated most of the olive groves in Salento, not compensated by the best numbers in the Centre-North where an abundant and quality production is estimated; before these results there are basically two important causes, the first the physiological alternation between years of higher and lower production and the second linked to climatic conditions.
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...and in the international sphere.
In Spain, the main Italian competitor, a good year is expected, with an increase compared to last year, but not up to the expectations of a few months ago due to the lack of rain; for Greece and Tunisia, on the other side, a significant reduction is estimated due to physiological alternation. At world level, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates total production at just over three billion kilos, slightly down on the previous year.
The harvesting campaign and weather conditions.
As far as we know, in some regions, such as Abruzzo, Sicily, Umbria, Lazio and Campania, harvesting has already begun and the weather conditions at a national level seem to affect if not penalise the work of the farmers, especially in the Centre North. The autumn season started with a lot of rain and alluvial phenomena that, according to meteorologists' forecasts, could last until the second decade of October. With the beginning of October, the depression in Iceland, the driving force behind the Atlantic perturbations that from Northern Europe are also heading towards Italy, took on more and more vigour; a look at the medium and long term forecasts shows that in mid-October a cyclone descending from the North Atlantic will first reach France and the Iberian Peninsula and then stabilise further on the Mediterranean Sea. If this is confirmed, further heavy rainfall cannot be excluded even in the form of a cloudburst and particularly in the Centre-North; more favoured at least for the moment is the South, which with greater atmospheric stability could enjoy temperatures well beyond the seasonal averages with peaks that could reach twenty-four, twenty-five degrees.
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The Italian olive oil sector has recently paid a very heavy bill due to the collapse of sales due to the closure of the catering channel and the prices paid to producers conditioned by the presence of abundant stocks of "old" Spanish olive oil on the world market; we hope that starting from 2021 we can foresee the end of these unfavourable conditions that affect the survival of one of the most important sectors of Italian agriculture.