Closure of Greece's banks is beginning to paralyze the country's vital olive oil industry

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He said the company also risks running out of bottles and caps as they are supplied from abroad and capital controls make it hard to wire payments to foreign suppliers.

Gaea, another olive oil supplier, is offering farmers cheques that they can cash once the banks re-open.

“A single olive oil cargo costs about 100,000 euros, so you can imagine we don’t have such sums in cash,” Chief Executive Aris Kefalogiannis told Reuters. He said he had secured most of the supplies he needs to keep operating until mid-August.

Gaea was paying some suppliers and transport firms using online banking.

“If web banking transactions stop, I don’t know whether we will be able to export. In that case, we will have to see if we can use foreign transport firms,” said Kefalogiannis.

Olives have been cultivated in Greece for thousands of years and today the country is the world’s third-largest producer of olive oil.

Exports have grown about twice as fast as domestic consumption over the past two decades but, compared to Spain and Italy, there is very little large-scale industrialized olive farming.

Of 520,000 olive growers, only half are professional farmers, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The rest are small-scale family businesses with relatively little commercial expertise.

“Our clients abroad feels sympathy for the situation and are trying to support us,” said Dimizas at Greekpol. “We do not even want to think about what would happen if we left the euro.”

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