Italy’s olive harvest has dropped 57%, making the crop yield the worst in 25 years. The decline might leave the country dependent on imports by April.
Extreme weather has been blamed for the olive harvest collapse. Olive trees across the Mediterranean have been hit by weather events that mirror the climate change predictions of erratic rains, early frosts and droughts. The collapse of the harvest led to protests by thousands of farmers in Rome earlier this month.
Average temperatures in the region have already risen by 1.4C above pre-industrial levels and precipitation has decreased by 2.5%.
One farmers’ union in Italy estimates the cost of the collapse of olive harvests this year has already reached €1 billion.
Across Europe, the projected 2018-19 olive harvests to drop by 20% in Portugal and 42% in Greece, although industry sources said final figures there could be significantly worse.