One-thousand years old olive oil suffers from drought

The harvest of the millenarian olive oil dropped to one fifth compared to the previous season due to drought. This olive oil coming from 1,000 years old trees is a delicatessen from the Ebre Delta, in Southern Catalonia. Locals are pushing for UNESCO to declare the 4,500 trees a World Heritage.

CNA / Jordi Marsal / Maik Wehlte

March 16, 2012 10:18 PM

Ulldecona (ACN,).- The harvest of the millenarian olive oil from the monumental trees from the area of Sènia dropped to one fifth compared to the previous season due to drought. This territory is located in the Southern Catalonia, near the Ebre Delta, in the Montsià County. After a record harvest last year with 5,000 liters of olive oil, the quantity suffered this year. Great efforts have been put not to affect the quality, mainly focusing on reducing the production. The opening of new international markets remains the goal of eight producers of this olive oil, which is one thousand years old. In this sense, the Sènia producers have started to prepare a proposal so that the 4,500 trees become a UNESCO World Heritage.

According to Lluís Ferré, owner of a property with millenarian trees in the area of Arion Ulldecona (Montsià) and pioneer in the marketing of this oil said that the producers are willing to maintain the quality standards. “We will provide the same quality and therefore production of the millennium oil has to be reduced to between 500 and 1,000 liters”.

In theory, this drop in production does not affect prices and trading conditions. The olive oil from the one thousand years old trees will be sold at a price of around 15 euros for a half liter bottle. “We seek to consolidate the existing market and consumers”, said Ferré, remembering that it is a highly valued, sold and presented in a special way with an explanation of its particular origin.

UNESCO World Heritage proposal

To reinforce this expansion, the round table of Sènia, an organisation that includes 27 municipalities in Catalonia, València and Aragón, has started to prepare a declaration so that the 4,500 heritage trees become a UNESCO World Heritage. “Now we are ready. Hand in hand with the Mediterranean Diet Foundation, we will meet them in Barcelona where they will give us their diploma of honor. We will go to Italy in June where they will show us the market and how to sell our own products”, explained the director of the association, Jaume Antich.

The goal is not only that the millennium olive trees become a World Heritage property, but also to protect them and to get international recognition for the oil, produced within the territory of Sènia. The aim is to obtain better market conditions than today.