Albanian Olive Oil Exports Quadruple in First Quarter of 2023, Officials Say

The combination of Albania’s bumper harvest and poor harvests in Europe means there is more demand than ever from the European Union for Albanian olive oil.
By Ofeoritse Daibo
Jul. 5, 2023 15:44 UTC

Albanian olive oil exports have quadru­pled in the first four months of 2023 com­pared to last year, accord­ing to com­ments from the coun­try’s deputy min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture reported by Euroactiv.

Arian Jaupllari said drought-dec­i­mated har­vests across the Mediterranean basin and a record yield for Albania in the 2022/23 crop year had cre­ated the per­fect storm for exporters.

Albanian olive oil exports reached 1,258 tons in the first four months of the year com­pared to just 326 tons exported in the same period of 2022.

See Also:Olive Oil Trade News

In November 2022, the International Olive Council esti­mated that Albanian olive oil pro­duc­tion would reach a record-high 15,500 tons. However, data from the national sta­tis­tics agency released in January indi­cated Albania pro­duced 26,000 tons, more than dou­ble the five-year aver­age.

At the same time, the European Union pro­duced just 1.5 mil­lion tons of olive oil in 2022/23, the low­est yield from the bloc since 2014/15.

Albania’s aston­ish­ing pro­duc­tion increase comes as domes­tic con­sump­tion is expected to reach 17,000 tons in the cur­rent crop year, lead­ing pro­duc­ers to worry that the country’s over­pro­duc­tion will drive down prices, which cur­rently sit at about €4.60 per liter, and make profit mar­gins even more razor-thin than usual.

Overproduction comes for two rea­sons. First, due to the con­tin­u­ous increase of the pro­duc­tion area, and sec­ond, the last pro­duc­tion sea­son was char­ac­ter­ized by high yield, or as it can be said in pop­u­lar lan­guage, it was a good year’ for pro­duc­tion,” Drini Imami, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Agricultural University of Tirana, told local media.

According to Istat, Albania’s national sta­tis­tics agency, there are 10.7 mil­lion olive trees in pro­duc­tion in Albania, a 30 per­cent increase com­pared to the pre­vi­ous decade. The rapid growth in olive cul­ti­va­tion is what offi­cials largely attribute to the dra­matic rise in pro­duc­tion.

While high pro­duc­tion costs and macro­eco­nomic head­winds in Albania have made it dif­fi­cult to sell locally pro­duced olive oil in the coun­try, the poor har­vests across the neigh­bor­ing E.U. have pro­vided an export chan­nel for Albanian pro­duc­ers, with olive oil ship­ments to France, Germany, Italy and Spain ris­ing.

While 2023 is expected to be an excep­tional year, European Commission data indi­cate that olive and olive oil exports by value from Albania to the E.U. have been ris­ing recently.

In 2022, Albania exported €14 mil­lion of olives and olive oil to the bloc, a 17 per­cent increase com­pared to 2021 and dou­ble what they were in 2019. Commission data show that olives and olive oil ship­ments rep­re­sent nearly 10 per­cent of the coun­try’s agri­cul­tural exports to the bloc.

Still, not all pro­duc­ers in Albania see the trend of ris­ing exports as a bonus. According to local media, most Albanian exports are col­lected locally from many farm­ers and shipped in bulk to be bot­tled and dis­trib­uted. As a result, pro­duc­ers receive €3.60 per liter, which they say is below cost.

However, Jaupllari said the gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing sub­si­dies to meet the con­cerns of local pro­duc­ers.

He expects exports to con­tinue to increase and said the Ministry of Agriculture was close to strik­ing a deal to ship more olive oil across the Adriatic Sea to Italy.

The min­istry, together with experts and the pri­vate sec­tor, is con­tin­u­ing the coop­er­a­tion so that the pro­duc­tion and export of olive oil is another suc­cess story of Albanian agri­cul­ture,” he said.

These mech­a­nisms and oth­ers were estab­lished, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the effects of cli­mate change, which have brought drought in Spain, Italy and France, are cre­at­ing the con­di­tions to increase the com­pet­i­tive­ness of Albanian olive oil,” he added.


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