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Virgin olive oil prices are expected to rocket as crops have been hit by poor weather and devastating wildfires.

Italian and Greek farmers are struggling this year, with their harvest down by nearly 60 per cent in some areas, while a smaller crop from Tunisia means worldwide production is set to dip 10 per cent.

Wholesale prices of European extra virgin olive oil have already soared from €3,000 (R50 234) a ton to €6,000 (R100 000) a ton, in spite of a bigger than normal crop of Spanish olives.

In Italy, farmers are predicted to produce just 180,000 tons of olive oil, down from 428,900 tons last year. Their 2018/19 crop was expected to be smaller because olive trees have a production cycle in which a large harvest one year is followed by a smaller one the next. However, the trees in olive-producing areas have also been hit hard by frosts.

Oil from Tuscany will be particularly expensive after wildfires tore through olive groves near Pisa for three days last month, destroying thousands of olive trees.

© Daily Mail