Olive Oil Shortage May Cause Prices to Hike

January 10, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hike /haɪk/ (v.) – to increase rapidly or suddenly
Example: The price of a product usually hikes when it becomes popular.

2. crop /krɒp/ (n.) – a plant that is cultivated by farmers
Example: The farmer cultivates two crops—rice and corn.

3. shortage /ˈʃɔr tɪdʒ/ (n.) – the condition of not having enough of something
Example: After the scandal, the store experienced a shortage of customers.

4. salvage /ˈsæl vɪdʒ/ (v.) – to save or preserve something that is likely to perish
Example: He managed to salvage a few bags of apples when his store went on fire.

5. plague /pleɪg/ (n.) – something that poses great harm or trouble
Example: Shoplifters are the plague of supermarkets.


Read the text below.
Food economists expect olive oil prices to hike this year because of failed harvests of major crops in Spain and Italy.

According to trade experts, olive farmers will be able to produce only half as much as last year’s yield. If supply does not meet the demand, prices will rise to at least 0.50 euros per liter. Filippo Berio, one of the largest olive oil importers, might have to double the prices to be able to afford a good supply for this year. For instance, the cost of a Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil—currently at 6.50 pounds—might escalate to 9.10 pounds.

The main cause of the shortage is said to be the failure to harvest good crops in Spain and Italy—the top two olive oil producers in the world. Spain produces 50 percent of the global olive oil supply, while Italy generates 15 percent.

Olive farms in Spain experienced extreme hot and dry weather in the early months of last year, causing harmful and damaging conditions to the olive trees. Consequently, crops were unable to mature properly during the blooming period. However, farmers remain hopeful. Crops may be salvaged if the weather settles before the harvesting period ends this month. 

The same cannot be said in Italy. Crops were inevitably destroyed because a type of bacteria contaminated the olive trees. Farmers stated that once infected with the bacteria, trees must be burned to stop the infection from spreading. The plague may greatly affect the quantity of supply, but farmers assured that the quality of the olive oil remains the same.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think your country will be affected by this price hike and shortage? Why or why not?
·         If olive oil became too expensive, what alternatives for olive oil would you suggest? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What is your country’s most important crop? Why is it the most important?
·         What other crops is your country known for? 

January 10, 2015