To be able to make a living as an olive farmer I feel that one of the ways we will survive is by maintaining the traditional olive farming system. This involves preserving the ancient olive trees, pruning correctly and maintaining healthy soil, all with the intention of bringing them to maximum health and production.
It is also critical to know the cost units such as:
- Value of land: 17,500 euro/ha
- Olive tree density: 250-320 trees/ha
- The cost of planting: 6euro/tree
- Knowledge of the trees productive cycle: 8years+ before the tree becomes productive
- Average potential productivity can vary between 6-18kg/tree
It is the small to medium growers, who will produce organic/extra virgin olive oil for this niche market. The aforementioned cost units will help to estimate a budget to calculate a fair price for our produce. As mentioned in our previous blog, the cost of producing an olive crop is in the region of 3500euro per ha plus sundry costs. Therefore, we feel a price of 1.50euro per kilogram or 18.25euro per 500ml of EVOO is necessary to remain viable. Also bear in mind that the tipping point age is 35 and the average age of the olive farmer is 61. At current prices paid to the farmer, no young farmer in their right mind will go into olive farming.
I would urge you that selling olives to the co-operatives is not worth your while or financially viable if you want your income to match your expenses. We have chosen to sell our organic extra virgin olive oil direct as this will enable us to maintain a financially viable, traditional olive farm. Bear in mind that the customer is not only buying a supreme quality olive oil but is also playing an important role in the preservation of traditional olive farming. If farmers do not have the support from the buyers, they will unfortunately be forced into an intensive farming system, an approach that we covered in our previous blogs relating to increasing desertification.
Thank you for all your support on behalf of a traditional small olive farmer.