The price and future of olive oil could be under threat
A persistent, incurable pathogen could cause over £20 billion of financial damage and unquantifiable cultural ruin to Europe’s olive oil industry, if resistant cultivars can’t be found. A projection on the impact of xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium that kills trees, spreads in insects, and has been particularly associated with olive trees since 2013, says that Italy, Greece and Spain could see their industries irreversibly changed in the next 50 years, according to the BBC.
This would almost certainly raise prices for consumers and restaurants in the U.K., but more pressing in the short-term is the impact on the cultural economies of the olive groves. Italian olive producers have already seen a reduction of 60 percent in crop yields since 2013, which in turn pushes down agritourism; the inherited significance of trees passed through families initially led farmers told to uproot at-risk groves to distrust scientific advice. The £20 billion figure remains a worst-case, future projection for now, but the pathogen’s impact to date — not just in Italy, but in Brazilian citrus and in Californian wine — means it is very much a problem for now.
And in other news...
- There are no pubs, but there are pub quizzes. [The Atlantic]
- Restaurateur and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi adds his voice to the chorus imploring the government to take decisive action to save restaurants from closure. [Guardian]
- When restaurants come back, there’s an opportunity for the industry to be better, for more people, than it is now. [Guardian]
- Four U.K. trade bodies have again implored the government to accelerate its financial response to novel coronavirus. [Big Hospitality]
- U.K. food waste charity FareShare reports that its surplus donations have more than doubled as suppliers pass on stock otherwise meant for restaurants. [Guardian]