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Greek olive growers’ cry for help following poor olive harvest

Question écrite de M. Ioannis LAGOS - Commission européenne

Question de M. Ioannis LAGOS,

Diffusée le 26 novembre 2023

Subject: Greek olive growers’ cry for help following poor olive harvest

Olive growers across Greece are in despair following this year's low olive oil yield. Although extreme climate conditions (namely drought, followed by heavy rainfall, which caused olive trees to either lose their buds or blossoms or not to flower at all) have led to ‘fruitlessness’ rates as high as 85%-100% in some areas, olive growers have no hope of receiving any State compensation as there is no compensation provision in the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organisation regulations. The tragic irony of it all is that the price of olive oil has skyrocketed this year, yet there will sadly be no harvest in most cases. Incalculable financial losses have been incurred thus far and olive growers have been hung out to dry by the Greek government.

In view of this, can the Commission answer the following:

1. Have any compensation claims been submitted bearing also in mind that the rate of crop damage in many regional units exceeds the 30% limit required for producers to claim compensation?

2. Does it intend to compensate Greek olive growers through the Common Agricultural Policy?

Submitted: 27.11.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 17 décembre 2023

Answer given by Mr Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission (18 December 2023)

Olive oil production in Greece attained 350 000 tonnes for marketing year 2022/2023, however, due to the alternate bearing of olive trees, it was to be expected to have a lower olive oil and table olives production in the new marketing year 2023/2024.

The Commission approved under state aid rules (1) a Greek damage compensation scheme due to natural disasters and adverse climatic events, with a budget of EUR 80 million (2).

The scheme supports farmers whose crop production was damaged by adverse climatic events, such as severe drought and heavy or prolonged rainfall.

The adverse climatic events must destroy more than 30% of the average production of the eligible farmer. In such cases, the aid to make good damage due to loss of production (including loss of income due to loss of crop production) can amount up to EUR 70 000 per beneficiary.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) offers a range of tools supporting the olive oil and olives sector. A Basic Income Support is paid to all eligible farmers.

In addition, farmers may participate on a voluntary basis to eco-schemes relevant to olives sector with different support rates. Under rural development and sectoral intervention, investment support is available to modernize or improve production and processing processes as well as support for fostering cooperation.

Finally, flexibilities regarding the calculation of the value or marketed production is granted to producer organisations whose production was impacted by adverse meteorological events.

In addition, the Commission has scheduled to adopt a support measure of EUR 43.3 million for Greece from the agricultural reserve to contribute to address damages caused by the wildfires and sub-sequent floods of the late summer in Greece, on 15 December 2023.

1 ∙ ⸱ Guidelines for state aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas 2022/C 485/01, OJ C 485, 21.12.2022, p. 1

2 ∙ ⸱

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