Olive oil standardization could boost exports in Greece

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The Greek economy could enjoy additional revenues of 250 million euros per year from olive oil exports if the commodity were utilized appropriately (i.e. not exported in bulk) and standardized in Greece with its own distinctive identity, according to a report by the National Bank of Greece.

Currently annual olive oil export revenues amount to 310 million euros, so there is the potential for takings of more than half a billion euros, while the replacement of bulk olive oil by a standardized product would also bring revenues of 85 million euros to the state from value-added tax alone.

However, just as is the case with other commodities, Greece appears to be missing out on olive oil demand as although global demand has risen more than 100 percent in recent years, the market share of standardized Greek olive oil has dropped from 6 percent in the 1990s to 4 percent in the last five years.

Furthermore, unless something changes, Greece will not only have to compete with Italy and Spain, but also with new international market players such as Tunisia, Portugal, Morocco and Turkey. In Greece no more than 27 percent of local olive oil is standardized, against 50 percent in Spain and 80 percent in Italy.

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