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09/21/2011 CALIFORNIA OLIVE ASSOCIATION LETTER TO THE EDITOR, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

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As described in the September 18 article in the Chronicle, the California olive industry has been competing for many years with cheap imports from Europe and Africa. Imported olives are inexpensive because, in many cases, the quality is inferior and growers are receiving generous government subsidies. The flood of cheap products into the U.S. has caused thousands of acres of olive trees to be removed in California, hurting growers and processors.

The U.S. government, under the auspices of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, is further eroding the prospects for California producers by giving millions of dollars to Morocco to help develop and expand its olive industry. Morocco already has a significant share of the U.S. table olive market and thanks to Uncle Sam there will be 150,000 acres of new olive groves in Morocco to compete directly with small family farms in California. The inevitable result of this folly will be a glut of olives in the world market that will, perversely, not help the intended beneficiaries--the Moroccan farmers. The California Olive Association appreciates the Chronicle’s focus on this issue and hopes that the U.S. government will cease utilizing taxpayer dollars in programs that will lead to the demise of U.S. industries.

Bill McFarland
President
California Olive Association, Sacramento

Click here to read the original San Francisco Chronicle article.

 

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