Opening seen for olive maker in Europe's woes

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New Zealand’s largest olive oil producer will look to capitalise on Europe’s disastrous olive harvest.

South European olive production has been hit by an olive fly and unfavourable weather which in some instances have seen tonnages plunge by more than 50 per cent.

Southern European nations produce 70 per cent of the world’s olive oil, bringing in $2.8 billion of export revenue.

However, the full impact of the shortfall will not be known until the middle of next year, when the olive oil from this year’s European vintage hits the shelves.

Hawke’s Bay-based Village Press produces 280 tonnes of olive oil a year from 35,000 of its own trees, and 12,000 contractors’ trees.

Chief executive Wayne Startup said his company exported to the United States and Canada, but was more and more focused on Asia.

“It [the disastrous harvest] might make the market look a bit more sensible from the New Zealand producer point of view.

“At present we are significantly more expensive than the Europeans, but this means we have an opportunity,” Startup said.

He said Village Press would not divert oil away from the New Zealand market, which was “still No 1”.
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