Is The Greek Olive Growing Industry Really  Sustainable & Solid?

There have been many reports and articles over the last decade about the importance of olive oil and  its contribution to the strengthening  of the Greek economy, increasing the declined GDP, creating new jobs while at the same time contributing to an increase of the state’s tax revenues.

The olive oil sectoral report presented by the National Bank of Greece (NBG) along with Mc Kinsey’s report titled “Greece-10 Years ahead” were the very early attempts, in the begging of the economic crisis, to highlight the path for the renaissance of the Greek economy which included the olive growing Industry.

Both Mc Kinsey and the NBG focus mainly to the need of the Greek olive oil industry to reorganize and unify its fragmented business system, concentrating in larger business shapes achieving economy of scale. This would be done in order to enhance the nation’s competitive position in the global market while at the same time improving the standardization levels in the olive oil and olive products.

Furthermore, the NBG’s study deepened the analysis, highlighting the Greek olive oil industry’s position in the global market and presented the reasons which explained the current situation in the national industry. The study reported that the main problems are the cultivation system, the farming size, the milling process, and of course the marketing & distribution pitfalls, while giving more details about the present and potential future evolution of the national industry in the global market.

Although both studies included many valid points relevant to the field of industry reorganization, the proposed business strategy and tactics give rise to serious objections as both are based on mass production and low cost principles. Both studies claim that production concentration (olive groves, mills, trading companies etc.) and vertical integration into large businesses are the solutions to an open global market in order for the national industry to be competitive. In terms of macroeconomics this may sound correct but this approach will have many destructive effects on the national microeconomic environment which are not presented or analyzed in any of the two reports.

In some other studies or articles the suggested solutions are based on the business model that other industry players such Spain and Italy have established in the global market. These studies have suggested that the Greek olive oil industry should copy and follow the same path without examining whether this model will in fact favor the country’s economic and social environment and national industry and if this could truly build a solid industry for the future.

It is important to mention that most studies talk about the “olive oil industry” while they should use the term “olive growing industry”, a notion which expresses more accurately a core change by which Greece should address this particular sector of the agricultural economy as a whole and not divided into pieces isolating the individual sections comprising the industry.

It is also worth mentioning that the majority of the studies do not present and connect the effects of the European Union’s decisions, the TTIP agreement, continuous austerity measures, the savage taxation system and their inhibitory influence on the olive growing industry in the short and the long term. They neither explain the role of the state nor the business model by which private and public sectors will join forces in favor of the national business. Nor is there any mention of the regulatory frame work in which this will operate.

But before we start analysing the above mentioned issues it is important to examine the past in order to see if there are structural obstacles that are holding the industry back from a future evolution in a positive direction which will help it proceed with the  necessary transformation.

The contribution of olive oil Industry to the national GDP is approximately 750.000 Euros and there is an estimation that extensive development of branded olive oil products could bring another 350.000 Euro, reaching a total of more than 1 billion Euros which means a possible GDP contribution increase from 0.4% to 0.6% in the frame of a steady GDP of 170 billion Euros. In 2008 when the national GDP reached its highest ever peak at 354.000 Euro the actual contribution of olive oil revenues to GDP was approximately 0.21% and that is when the Greek economy was still the “growth miracle” of Southern Europe riding the “bubble horse” of financial borrowing. During the same period the olive growing industry was relying on subsidies, the main EU tool to keep the agricultural societies alive as the production costs increased dramatically while producer prices were at best steady but in fact mostly declined.

Greece’s production has remained low with a downward trend over the past 5 years declining 17%, while the Greek market share in global production declined from 19% in 1990 to 11% in 2014. The national level of consumption declined from 20 Kg per capita in 1990 to 16 Kg per capita in 2014. Over the same period olive oil has been partially substituted by vegetable oils due to the lower prices of the latter or due to changes in daily diet, losing an important market share. Although there is a shift in export orientation from 35% in 1990 to 42% in 2014, as mentioned the industry has lost a 3% market share from 14% in 1990 to 11% in 2014.

It seems that the Greek state along with the privately held sector didn’t manage to lead the Greek olive growing industry to the next step of gaining the position it deserves in the highly and increasingly competitive international market. In addition, they failed to take full advantage of the superior olive goods’ quality and the centuries-old olive growing culture pervasive across the nation. The situation as it has been shaped today raises many question related to whether the industry will survive in years to come.

National Olive Growing Industry Obstacles.

There is no clear and long term national strategy that will unify all industry actors under a common purpose in a long-term plan involving all sector members i.e. olive growers, mills, marketing & distribution. Today the sector is divided with members acting one against the other protecting only the interests of each separate part of the system. There is no central coordination and this is an extremely notable weakness.

The state failed to build a solid and well collaborating “industry body” and a network that would establish a highly competitive Greek olive oil industry ahead of global competition based on organoleptic, nutritional and health protective characteristics. The national industry competitors are not in fact Spain or Italy but the business newcomers such Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco etc., who are rapidly entering the market, applying different strategies, new cultivation systems, and using international synergies, technology, science and capital  in their effort to penetrate and position their business  in the international market.

Looking at the global olive oil map today Italy leads the packaged market, Spain dominated the bulk market while Greece lately is trying to take a lead position globally in the field of premium extravirgin olive oil (EVOO) taking advantage of the high quality of its product and health benefits linked to Greek EVOO.

The unstable, unclear taxation system along with the suspended business environment, destructive legislative framework and dissolved banking system weakens, marginalizes and discredits the new business generation who are aiming at creating a more dynamic Greek olive oil industry with a healthier business mentality. Only a small number of people in the business  and in particular those with capital adequacy managed to continue their efforts and invest in business yet with no clear positive results in their P&L. The majority of people who invested in the wider olive growing industry have presented negative results and high bank lending. Although, lately, a new well educated olive growing generation has made very good efforts, the penetration levels in markets abroad and in the distribution networks are weak and absolutely not sufficient, compared to the two main competitors, the Italians and the Spaniards.

The state has also failed to effectively connect olive growers with the trading system, science and funding on a large scale. The role of the agriculturists has been limited to that of  dealers on behalf of chemical companies, while the support they provide to farmers is too often superficial and what is more it is damaging to olive growers. The geographic allocation of university institutions is also false as institutions are not connected sufficiently with farmers. Additionally the results of academic inquiries remain untapped in some office drawers due the lack of effective state coordination. As a result industry innovation levels are very low and this creates numerous problems in raising funds and attracting investors.

Only in the last 5 years has the industry managed to attract the interest of investors, due to a shift in strategy of some olive growers with integrated organization, capital adequacy and knowledge who have achieved to move the industry forward, investing mainly in high quality olive goods that are linked  to improving human health based on scientific research.

The applied state policy so far has created huge inequalities between the different members comprising the industry (olive growers, mills, marketing and distribution companies). A brief review on Industry Ratios for each of the three major sectors gives clear evidence and leads to the conclusion that olive growers are the most vulnerable part of the olive growing system and will affect the position of the other two parts in the very near future as the three are very intimately connected. The main reasons for the inequality described above is the lack of an economy of scale on the side of olive growers as well as, false EU and national policies on subsidies and the available EU funding system.

It is very important to mention that in the heart of the problem lies another hot topic which is the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) of the EU as has been applied by the Greek Ministry Of Agriculture.  Instead of strategically marketing the Olive Growing Industry as a system and supporting the development of a strong business sector, the ministry gave priority to the expansion of arable crops based on readily available CAP subsidies.

The marketing of the Greek olive growing industry in terms of strategy is false or very poor and as a result olive oil brands are absent from the shelves of many POS in the global sales channels as they have mainly chosen a wrong market positioning. Even in cases where they are placed in certain points of sales, they are incapable of remaining there for more than 1 to 2 years. Of course, this very expected finding is associated with the decades-long non- existent marketing policy.

The olive growing business in Greece especially in semi-mountainous regions which are producing the highest quality olive goods has been having negative results due to the high cultivation costs and after the new CAP it is more than certain that it will not survive.

Additionally, the Greek farming population is ageing and is not being replaced  by the new generations while many young farmers  are giving up olive growing as the economic outcomes  don’t allow them to make their living and they are not trained or experienced in the agribusiness industry. Although many young people tried to enter the olive growing business they did not manage to financially survive and after 4 to 5 years they abandoned olive farming or the marketing and distribution business connected to olive goods.

But there is more evidence worth considering: in 1980, Greece had a surplus of 3.3 billion drachmas in agricultural balance, but in 1981, the first year of membership in the EEC, Greece presented a deficit of 290 million Euros. Based on available data the situation has evolved dramatically: the deficit of the agricultural balance in 2008 reached i 3 billion Euros increasing since 1981 by 934%! Another element of the agricultural balance is that only in the first year of the Euro,  Greece showed an increase of the agricultural deficit compared with all of the countries of the world (EU and non) of 74%. In the same period olive oil output as well as export indices both declined.

SMEs in Greece which could boost the industry as a whole are  facing severe common problems in sustainably keeping up their competitiveness in the national and on the European market such as lack of effective support services that offer practical help and expert knowledge to entrepreneurs and experienced enterprises to foster innovative approaches; not well exploited advantages that new technologies offer; difficulties in entering new markets; poorly developed marketing networks; low level of cooperation between undertakings and low level of internationalization.

The absence of a supportive banking system, investment or cooperative banks that could boost small and medium size enterprises  and  increase their presence in the international markets while supporting at the same time a healthy competition inside the nation, following the German model, makes the situation  even worse .

The remarkable increase in the demand for olive oil in the last twenty years is the most characteristic feature of the evolution of the world olive oil market. However, this fact has not translated into higher profitability for all business actors especially for olive growers , who in recent years have seen prices drop to levels below the cost of cultivation and processing, as a result of an oversupply and a strong imbalance of power relations within the olive sector. This problem stems from the production-oriented culture prevalent among producers and the lack of knowledge and guidance. In this context, in order for the efforts of the producers to be rewarded by the market, they need to adopt the philosophy of market orientation, focus on high quality olive goods, a strategy that could generate great returns, considering the enormous possibilities that different types of virgin olive oils have in different markets.

The lack of a specialized labor force in the majority of the areas increases the farming costs and affects farming performance. The dependence of farmers on foreign workers in conjunction with the extremely high living costs in the country, strong urbanism and the abandonment of land by the younger generation as well as the ageing farming population will soon enough lead to the lack of sufficient labor force to cultivate and harvest and the death of the economic and social life in rural areas as it has happened for decades in many areas around the country.

Austerity measures imposed on the Greek economy by lenders over the last 8 years and the capital controls have created many more obstacles negatively affecting national consumption levels, olive growing, olive oil trade companies and business funding, generating numerous obstacles in the development of the  national olive oil industry. The sales volume in Greece decline only in 2015 by18%, compared to a 16% decline in Spain while in Italy sales volumes remained relatively flat.  At the same time retail prices in Greece increased by 17.2% while farmer buying prices were staying unchanged. Only the first year of austerity measures led to a 14,1% decline of the internal consumption (International Olive Oil Council 2013).

The industry has not managed to fully extend  its business activities exploiting the creation of new products from the olive tree and the local olive growing culture, creating linkages with other business sectors such as agro tourism, gastronomy and similar fields of business.

The latest consumer turn to a more healthy diet in many places around the world didn’t find the national industry ready to grasp and coordinate the opportunity as it had not created the necessary base to build on.

Al this evidence leads us to the initial conclusion that slowly but steadily the olive growing system in Greece is step by step following the same collapsing path which was followed by many others industries that completely disappeared over the last 30 to 40 years based on the political dogma: “We cannot produce anything ”or “ we cannot anymore compete in the international market”.

There is an immediate need for action to stop this negative course and invigorate the olive growing industry.

Proposed Olive Growing Industry Business Policy

To be able to escape, for once, the repeated historical mistakes and avoid losing another business industry as has happened in the past, with severe consequences on its socio-economic system, Greece should reorganize its olive growing system.

The problem in the olive growing industry is multidimensional and reflects the greater problems of the national economy and society. Greece must, above everything else, work on system thinking and change perceptions inorder to be able to respond to the wider challenges of the global economy. Without this prerequisite it is impossible to hope for any kind of a brighter future and Greece will continually be led into a destructive spiral of fatal mistakes.

Industry members must make a clear decision as to which path to follow among two global trends: the industrialized production of mass olive goods based on  a low cost strategy or the path that leads to the creation of a sustainable olive growing industry, focusing on the production of high quality and health-protective olive goods respecting natural resources and local culture.

Greece as a small sized nation, with rich natural heritage and ideal microclimate should take advantage of its agricultural history and natural comparative advantages and focus on the production of high quality olive goods.

For this reason changes must take place inside the national industry environment by any entity which affects the industry as a system whether public or private in the field of terms regulations and business strategy.

The Role Of The State

Greece must create and apply an integrated agribusiness economic model and accordingly place inside the olive growing industry, setting a business plan that serves its own economic plans, interests and priorities building a leading global profile inside the industry instead of acting as a life time follower, using as a basic pillar its high quality and the centuries-old olive growing cultivation culture, a unique competitive advantage that stems from natural heritage and nature. This will allow the industry to create and absorb an increased added value in the long term.

The national olive growing industry should shift its course towards a combinatorial economic model investing and developing at the same time in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors that comprise the olive growing industry as a system. It should build an extensive business network under the umbrella of Greek natural products and place olive goods in selected sales channels as a category leader.

Greece should reorganize the olive growing system balancing the relations between industry members and redefine the relationship between them, on a unifying basis aiming at collaboration that composes and gradually strengthens the industry as a whole system in a national effort to improve its market position.

Key internal weaknesses revolve around the fragmentation of the olive production base, insufficient farmer know-how and inadequate awareness of market trends and demand characteristics, improper packaging, unidentified geographic indication of olives, poor marketing performance, lack of effective branding, as well as a lack of coordination between farmers and mills and trading system which is increasingly causing delays in accessing oil mills, often leading to quality deterioration.

As national agribusiness is affected by the EU Collective decisions and legislation, governments should renegotiate major issues that have a negative effect on the national olive growing industry as part of the overall agricultural policy that is connected to the CAP and other similar issues. This is extremely important as structural changes are imposed on Greece that are not always in line with any possible well-structured national economic policy.

The olive growing industry must be mapped and categorized per region, variety, soil specificities, type of economy and many other socioeconomic macro & micro ratios that should be used for the industry policy planning.

The olive growing business in Greece is taking place mainly in  semi-mountainous regions which  has a negative impact due to the high cultivation costs and farmers after the new CAP are unlikely to financially survive. These regions should be protected and supported as they produce the highest quality olive oil and table olives. In fact they should be incorporated into a vertical system of an Olive Goods Enterprise in order to be able to operate and generate profit keeping local societies alive.

The olive business is a major driver in the economy of these rural areas. It is essential to emphasize the multi-functionality of olive cultivation: it has the ability to unite a territory, create jobs, protect the environment, maintain local populations and production systems, preserve traditional agricultural landscapes, avoid or reduce erosion, fight climate change and maintain biodiversity. In short, it is necessary to assert the fundamental importance of the olive sector in its social, cultural, and environmental dimensions and loss outcomes.

Most important is the creation of a supportive mechanism such as a National Olive Growing Organization which will define a long-term strategy and will coordinate the industry action into a common path.

The state should improve regulations for (innovative) enterprises and implement reforms: as of 2012, according to the World Bank’s 2012 report, regulations are still very high for new firms in Greece, hindering or imposing substantial costs to both innovators and researchers who are seeking to commercialize their inventions through new business ventures. Greece should aim to actualize permanent business registration within one day. To become a fast and efficient public administrator, Greece must implement state of the art administration for all businesses (e.g. online registering of new businesses, tax declarations).

The role of the state is important looking at the example of how the German state is supporting business growth  using investment banks and how these banks help small and  medium sized companies to grow and expand abroad.

Industry reform must be planned and coordinated by the state as it  is the only actor that can legislate, boost investments , direct and guide the public and private collaboration for the optimization of the Greek olive growing industry under a clear and common goal, policy and business strategy. Private or public entities cannot effect this alone or isolated, if they do not operate under an official  and commonly acceptable principle that will equally protect the interests of each separate part that comprises the olive & olive oil industry and allocate obligations and benefits accordingly among industry actors. Both scenarios of either public or private entities  have completely failed repeatedly in Greece over the past years leading the sector to the current malfunction and ineffectiveness.

For many decades governments in Greece have been legislating favoring different industry teams for political reasons while later trying to correct failures and imbalances yet never drawing a national strategy that will favor the industry in the long run.

As Marianna Mazzucato claimed in her book Building The Entrepreneurial  State the mission of the governments should  shift  from the emphasis on fixing market failures or minimizing government failures towards maximizing the transformative impact of policy that can shape and create markets. Governments would benefit from adopting a portfolio approach to public investments in innovations, nurturing the explorative, plural, and trial and error aspect of change. This requires thinking not only about technological change in a new way but also organizational change. Building the public agencies of the future with creative, adaptive and explorative capacity. The need for a better infrastructure to enable wider dissemination of the new is clear.

Olive Growing Industry 

The role of corporations  that for many years have been destroyed and corrupted by the wider political system and have been used as a means for governmental games must be replaced by models similar to theEnglish or German Cooperation System or the Japanese Keiretsu Model with horizontal and vertical expansion adjusted  to meet  nowadays reality operating  outside the political realm. The collaboration between public and private actors, science and capital is a prerequisite at the very early stage of the transformation. The new system should overpass any intermediate factor that is not adding Value to the business purpose and incorporate multilevel activities.

Establishing “Olive Goods Organizations” per olive region based on a collaboration chain using national data and local  special features will achieve economies of scale through collective procurement, and enhance coordination between member farms, olive mills and trading system turning even small farms to be part of a “sustainable business cluster”and overcoming the repeatable problem of land abandonment or the passing of  the olive land properties to the hands of global mega corps while at the same time helping rural areas to survive, produce and  escape mass urbanism as has happened oftentimes in the country. The proposed “modern cooperative” can also introduce a number of value-added services to member farms, such as rendering outsourced post-harvest handling services, and hosting micro and small businesses that produce olive by-products.

The industry should rebuild its distribution and sales channels. It should avoid exporting the majority of produced EVOO in bulk to Italy, Spain and other countries and should take advantage of the superior quality of olive goods.

Research & Development: Greece should invest more in R&D, innovation and connect natural advantages, scientific research and capital investment to change the industry course and create added value that will boost and favor the whole industry. Greece should support small to medium size enterprises which are more flexible and can adapt innovation and make decisions faster that large enterprises. The connection between science and production is an absolutely necessary action and the strongest tool along with investments, technology and legislation to lead the olive growing industry to the next level.

Olive Growing  Exploitation: For the industry’s continuation it is important that the state immediately sets up a plan that not only will keep young generations to their land but attract more people and strengthen the sector before it collapses.

New cultivation systems, technology and scientific support are necessary in order to stabilize the olive growers’ outcomes, reduce unnecessary costs and allow them to be profitable and reinvest in their land and necessary facilities.

Industry activities should be expanded and start producing olive & olive oil sub-products that would easily be absorbed by the channels of the international natural food market. The case of the production of pure Oleocanthal (Oleocanthal, a Phenolic Derived from Virgin Olive Oil: A Review of the Beneficial Effects on Inflammatory Disease) is a great example of horizontal business expansion.

The attempt to build, launch and support globally a new olive goods category based on health protective characteristics such as oleocanthal or health protective claims is the perfect opportunity to achieve a strategy based on the high quality physically competitive advantage. Additionally for this reason it is absolutely necessary to transform Greece’s cultivation system to be much more friendly to human health, natural life and the environment avoiding pressure on olive groves for overproduction which most of the times is useless with regards to profitability.

According to Schumpeter’s idea of an entrepreneur as someone able to create an innovation, the small size of a company is more suitable, in a context where the access to the innovation is free. Small companies can gain access to the market more easily and rapidly, and can compete with companies already operating in the market. In the long run, this form of innovation evolves towards the institutionalized form characteristic of large enterprises. Large enterprises use strategies to associate R&D expenditure with high scientific content innovations that generate global changes, and with profit maximization, and have access to markets that are barred to the small innovator entrepreneur.

Higher expenditure on R&D and the adoption of new technologies would compensate for the low productivity and poor competitiveness of firms in the olive oil sector.

Investing in R&D and Training: Increases the transfer of knowledge and consulting within the production sector and stimulate more cooperation between farmers and researchers to accelerate innovation, especially in processed products that bring benefits both in terms of time(convenience products), and in terms of health (functional and nutritional products).

The theoretic and empirical investigation of companies that are involved in innovation shows increased competitiveness and performance at both domestic and international levels. We believe that companies’ innovation processes should be stimulated and strengthened by exploiting both tacit and codified knowledge. Companies should be encouraged to form networks, which seems as the most appropriate industrial organization model to realize firm integration. Companies should focus on a production specialization model, particularly in the non-mass production areas, using highly qualified manpower that would seem to be the only way to improve competitiveness. This model reveals one of the limitations of an export-oriented economy. To combine innovation and internationalization, using a system where companies cooperate and integrate to acquire a new market share and strengthen their existing share, would constitute the winning card.

Some companies in the olive oil sector are using the Intranet and E-commerce, creating a network with others, but investment in human capital and R&D are still low.

Olive mills are also an important factor in the creation of high quality EVOO. As a consequence, this sub-sector should proceed with immediate investments in order to improve its facilities in order to be able to contribute to the creation of high quality EVOO according to the international  regulations and standards.

Capital Sourcing

Capital sourcing should develop and promote business financing and funding using cooperative and investment banks and flexible financial tools that will move entrepreneurship in an industry sector with the participation of public and private funds. A cooperative system should be recreated on the basis of a collaboration between public and private sectors, limiting the role of the state in shaping the institutional framework that enables development, opening interstate agreements and configuration enhancement mechanisms of the olive sector without allowing the use of mechanisms for the interests of political parties.

Risk Capital Mechanisms for Start-ups is an example: once knowledge spillovers are turned to new products, it is necessary to close the equity gap of the high-tech start-ups. Access to risk capital will then be one major requirement for a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in Greece. Where necessary, standards and regulations for the provision of seed and equity capital should be adjusted so that venture capital is attracted to Greece, on the one hand (see Bygrave and Timmons, 1992), while seed capital needs to be provided from public sources, on the other. Most importantly, venture capital will be attracted if research centers of excellence are established, research clusters are developed, and top researchers are attracted.

Marketing Strategy

Greece should focus on penetrating new markets and new segments of the existing markets with high rate of awareness in nutrition and health matters and a healthy economic environment. The nation also has to apply different Integrated Marketing Strategies out of the conventional, outdated and inefficient sales channels networks. Greeks have to choose a different path than the Italians and Spaniards.

The industry should also exploit the link between tourism and the natural capability to produce high quality olive goods and olive oil. The industry should highlight greater diversification, by using olive oil as an ingredient in other foods (sausages, preserves, pastries, etc.), and introducing it in other products(cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals), creating links with the energy market and discovering other forms of using olive waste and its by-products, such as composting, for example.

Greece should create well integrated and adequately sized marketing structures through cooperation agreements, strategic alliances, and mergers within the production sector. The functioning of the olive and olive oil production chain should be improved, promoting stable and sustainable relationships between different players, based on trust and commitment and the development of vertical collaborative strategies. Efficient marketing should be conducted based on market orientation. Olive companies, especially the producers have to be convinced that it is essential to establish an on-going dialogue with consumers to enable them to identify consumer needs and desires. Satisfaction of consumer demands must become one of the main objectives of the organization.

Constant improvement in the quality and safety of food is an integrated process that includes respect for the environment. It is not enough that olive oils are safe and healthy; theproduction process must also be safe and healthy.

Greece should design and apply an aggressive business plan entering not only into new markets as an exporter of premium olive goods with an olive growing tradition of centuries but also as a specialist in olive growing culture, educating nations that their microclimate is what is allowing the olive tree cultivation and mainly expand olive growing geographically. This would create enormous multilevel opportunities that need extensive analysis. The increasingly globalized and demand-driven economic scenario that is beginning to take on a more clear shape, although having many traps would at the same time offer new challenges and opportunities for the agricultural and food sectors, one of which sectors is obviously the olive oil sector. This is if one can see and grasp these opportunities on time. The success to be obtained in achieving sustained, stable competitive advantages in foreign markets will depend on the production, organization and commercial strategies adopted.

Greece should build a market leader profile based on natural products using as category leader the premium olive oil of high phenolic EVOOs to pull the market instead of remaining as a life-long follower, trapped within rules of the fast pace market defined mainly by few big distributors. For this reason the industry should follow an investment plan and incorporate the best human capital. Any other way will always limit the possibility to build a healthy and powerful olive growing industry in the years to come.

Τhe latest research in the US market by highly respected institutions has shown that almost 70% of the imported well known Italian EVOO is adulterated . Tom Muller’s book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil creates opportunities for the Greek EVOO especially in the US market.

Greece proactively  should limit and control the role of the factors that surround and negatively affect the industry’s productivity, growth, costs and profitability by legislating strict regulations and force these to be more responsible, active and productive linking their results directly with the positive targets of the whole industry.

The general global socio-economic changes must be seen as an opportunity and not freeze the political plans and decisions to exploit the opportunities within new era of globalization. The emerging markets in Asia and Latin America (BRIC) and the rising of an increased high income middle class which tends to adapt to the Western life style is an open door for the Mediterranean culture and diet.

Surveys should take place in selected high income countries using scientific tools in order to map the market and estimate market attractiveness and define different strategies .

An in depth analysis of national economic structure and  the  international olive growing industry along with a socio-economic analysis of different markets could help Greece map the road for a viable olive growing industry in the long run.