Italy's Olive Oil Production Hits 25-Year Low
FASANO, ITALY - APRIL 10: Hundred years old olive trees are seen at the Piana degli Oliveti on April 10, 2019 in Fasano, Italy.
The Agricultural Landscape of the Piana degli Oliveti is one of the 10 historic rural landscapes that UNESCO is considering recognizing as a World Heritage Site. In the area of Fasano, Ostuni, Carovigno and Monopoli there are 250,000 olive trees of extraordinary value.
Apuglia is the Italian region with the most important olive-growing heritage, consisting of about 60 million plants. About half are more than 100 years old, and 3-5 million specimens are over 1000 years old. More than 350 thousand hectares are planted with olive trees, equal to 25% of the regional agricultural area. 1200 oil mills are active in the Apulian territory, which grows 53 olive varieties, according to Angelo Corsetti, Director of Coldiretti Puglia.
From October to January the olives are harvested and oil is produced; then until April the trees are pruned and the new flowers and the growth of the olives are awaited.
Climate change, extreme weather and Xylella fastidiosa, a bacteria transmitted by insects, are causing a severe decline in Italian olive oil production, with some experts predicting the country may ultimately need to import oil from other countries. Olive oil is a backbone of the Italian economy, cuisine, and culture, with some olive groves supporting trees which are thousands of years old, and the industry responsible for thousands of jobs.
(Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)