A European Commission report has concluded that the intensification of olive oil production has led to a series of environmental problems, including soil erosion, water run-off, degradations of habitats and landscapes and the exploitation of scarce water resources; it claimed that in some areas, intensive olive groves had contributed to desertification. The report called for reforms to the EU’s olive subsidy regime, insisting that grants are tied to producers complying with good environmental practice codes, the payment of additional grants to olive producers in environmentally sensitive areas and also extra spending on agri-environmental programmes for the olive sector.

By Keith Nuthall, just-food.com correspondent