14 Jun 2024, 13:02
Sören Amelang

Rising temperatures enable farmers to produce olive oil in Germany

Frankfurter Rundschau

Due to rising global temperatures, the first hobby farmers in Germany have started growing olive groves, which are on track to becoming profitable in the future, reports Frankfurter Rundschau. "It is now definitely feasible [to grow olives] in Germany due to the climatic conditions,” said olive expert Efthimios Christakis to the newspaper, adding that no farm has dared to start professional production yet. “Some Spanish and Greek varieties – as well as an Italian olive variety from Lake Garda – are well suited to cultivation in Germany." He said profitable production would require thousands of trees, whereas Germany’s largest olive grove, located near Cologne, only has around 250 trees.

Austrian start-up Agro Rebels, which promotes the idea of using rising temperatures as an opportunity for farmers, argues that climate change “can’t be reversed, and agriculture needs to react.” The start-up says that olive growing could "very soon" be economically viable in the "new" sub-Mediterranean zones in central Germany and Austria, and it has already published a manual for olive growing in Central Europe. But Christakis said that professional production would need many years of lead time given that olive trees need 10 to 15 years before they produce reasonable yields.

Olive oil prices have soared and their quality deteriorated as many olive trees in the Mediterranean region, the plant's traditional growing area, have suffered from extreme heat, a lack of water and pests over the past two summers. EU production dropped by an estimated 40 percent in the 2022/23 season. The German Farmers’ Association (DBV) said Germany must adapt to the changing climate by cultivating more resilient crop varieties as changing weather patterns weigh on traditional harvests.

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