The troubles began just over decade ago when a bacteria began killing olive trees in Italy.
Olive oil is an essential ingredient in many delicious foods that bring Americans joy.
Sadly, there may soon be less comfort food and happiness for us to savor. Due to an infestation impacting Italy’s famed olive trees, the world is now facing a scary, new commodity shortage.
A slew of ongoing issues have been drizzling trouble over the olive oil industry for the better half of the past decade, according to experts in the field, and things are getting increasingly dire. Chief among the problems is a rapidly spreading olive tree-killing bacteria. That coupled with COVID-related production problems and supply issues stemming from the ongoing war in Ukraine, are wreaking havoc with supplies of the world’s favorite healthy oil.
The troubles began just over decade ago when a bacteria known as Xylella fastidiosa began killing olive trees in Italy — particularly an estimated 20 million in Puglia, per Atlas Obscura. The brutal blight turns trees an unhealthy pale color and leaves them with “no chance of survival,” according to the outlet.
The bacteria, which is carried by insects that consume tree sap called hilaenus spumarius, has since spread beyond Puglia, which is responsible for 12% of the world’s olive oil supply. Now, it’s reached the whole of Italy and other Mediterranean nations are at risk, according to Atlas Obscura.
Billions have funneled money into covid research and “climate change” studies. However, there doesn’t appear to be the same effort to study how to combat the bacteria destroying the trees.
“This is the most critical time [for olive oil]. There is an unforeseeable future,” Pietro Brembilla, owner of Italian culinary good retailer Sogno Toscano, a Tuscan business that brings the best of the boot into the US, told The Post.
Brembilla said the fatal blight has harmed production by about 50% in the past five years. He worries that not enough is being done to combat it.
“It’s been way too many years that this has been an issue … it is ruining the crops,” Brembilla said, adding that one of the largest issues from the blight is that affected products do not meet health standards to be sent around the world.
“I am pretty worried. I love my country, but we’re not the best to taking matters into our own hands. There’s only been slow changes [in fixing the blight issue].”
The olive oil trade has been a critical component of Mediterranean economies since ancient times, which is a significant development. Estimates are that production will drop over 2 million tons next year.
Global olive oil production is expected to fall to 2.9 million tons in the 2022/23 crop year, according to the latest estimates published by the United States Department of Agriculture.
According to USDA data, production will fall by 11 percent compared to the previous crop year and finish 8 percent below the rolling five-year average.
The USDA attributed the production decrease to the anticipation of smaller olive harvests in the European Union, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia. USDA economists mainly attributed the decrease to the natural alternate bearing cycle of the olive tree.
I would strongly urge the scientific community to spend some time determining how to fight the olive tree blight instead of pandering to the latest social justice and green activist boutique research agendas.
Perhaps it is time to prioritize research that has a benefit to humanity?DONATE
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