The Italian government has announced a new financial aid package aimed at supporting olive growers and oil producers through the 2020 harvest.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has made €140 million ($166 million) of guaranteed loans available for organizations of producers of olive oil and table olives and related associations.
Participating producer groups have until December 2020 to request loans of up to €2.5 million ($2.96 million) each, which they can then turn around and use over the course of the following 12 months to purchase olive oil and table olives from their members.
If the producer organizations and associations are then unable to repay the loans, the state-run Deposits and Loans Bank (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti) will pay the difference. However, it is widely expected that this will not be the case.
Interested producer organizations and associations will have to fill out applications with the Italian Chamber of Commerce, which will then vet each one to ensure that European Union regulations regarding the amount of state aid that can be provided to a private company are not breached.
“The initiative could be useful to enhance the results of the next oil campaign and to contain the market imbalances caused by the COVID-19 emergency, as well as to favor the relaunch of the activities of a sector already heavily affected by an unfavorable 2019,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that the financial aid package would help promote Italian table olives and olive oils while also shoring up the production chain after periods of bad weather throughout the spring and summer damaged many of the country’s olive trees.
Olive Oil Times by Paolo DeAndreis