Greek olive oil is expected to enjoy an excellent year in 2018, after a mediocre crop in the previous year, as this year's crop is projected to be better, George Economou, head of the Association of Olive Oil Industries SEVITEL said on Friday. He said this would raise the bar both for production and exports of Greece's "liquid gold," noting that this should be sold as a "premium" product.

In comments made to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio station "Praktoreio 104.9 FM," Economou said: "We have around 280,000 tons, it is a very good year, I hope we can extend the run of good figures to our exports also, which have been rising steadily in the last few years." Economou noted that olive oil exports have doubled, from around 15,000 tonnes 15 years ago to 30-35,000 tonnes at present. "All the positive messages makes us even more optimistic and we hope we can earn an additional 3-5.0 pct," he said.

Economou noted, however, that increasing exports required a series of actions from the producers' side, to make Greek products better known around the world. "This does not apply only to olive oil. We must look at all products so that the fame of Greek foods becomes equal to their qualitative features and superior flavour, along with their nutritious ingredients," he said. Greek olive oil should not be sold as just another ordinary olive oil, according to Economou, but as a premium product because it deserved that distinction, but this required a national strategy. He cited the success of Greek products at international competitions, such as the New York International Olive Oil Competition, where Greek producers gained 54 awards.

"We are happy with the awards for Greek olive oils, it was a well-deserved distinction, many of these oils are efforts by small producers," Economou said, adding that Greek olive oil constantly improved its quality. He added that SEVITEL's aim was to establish a brand presence around the world to offer an added value to the product.