Greece to spend much money to promote olive oil

The government will spend an additional 5.3 million ($6.4 million) this year to promote Greek olive oil overseas, the finance minister said Monday. The additional money mean the government will spend a total of 241.3 million to promote olive oil and other Greek products over the next four years.

Greece makes about 400,000 metric tons (441,000 tons) of olive oil annually accounting for 13 percent of the world's supply, and is the third largest producer, after Spain and Italy. It exports about 100,000 metric tons but 94 percent of that is sold in bulk and bottled under non-Greek brands.

Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said Greece hoped to double the revenue it receives from olive oil exports, currently worth about 300 million ($363 million) annually. "We want our country's products to be associated with high quality and for our products to be present in every market ... Olive oil could be a good start for other products," Alogoskoufis said.

"World production and consumption of olive oil are both on the increase and we want to be a part of this new marketplace," he said. He said that along with traditional European and north African farmers, growers in the United States, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and China are also increasing production. Heavily splashed on Greek salads, olive oil is a key element in the cholesterol-reducing Mediterranean diet and is consumed daily by most Greeks, reports the AP.

N.U.