Chile on Track to Surpass 19 Percent Growth in Olive Oil Production

Projected to exceed 22,000 tons of olive oil production in 2016, Chile has overcome adverse climate conditions with a savvy combination of efficiency and a sharp focus on quality.

Dec. 5, 2016
By Sarah Chambers

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Rebounding from a period of drought, Chile has steadily increased pro­duc­tion, expor­ta­tion and even con­sump­tion of olive oil in the local mar­ket. Production rose from 19,000 tons pro­duced in 2015 to an esti­mated 22,000 tons in 2016. 

Assisted by the mar­ket con­di­tions in Europe and decreased prod­uct out­put in Spain, Chile has con­tin­ued to increase its mar­ket pres­ence, export­ing abroad 76 per­cent of all olive oil pro­duced, with a total global mar­ket rep­re­sen­ta­tion of 0.8 per­cent as of 2015.
See Also: Complete Coverage of the 2016 Olive Harvest
Gabriela Moglia, gen­eral man­ager of ChileOliva in an inter­view with El Mercurio, con­firmed this out­look stat­ing that in the last 10 years, the increase in pro­duc­tion in Chile has been explo­sive, more than 900 per­cent, through expan­sion of olive plantations.” 

Chile’s pos­i­tive tra­jec­tory since 2011 can be linked to advances in water­ing and land effi­ciency. In the Aceite de Oliva Special Farm Edition’ sec­tion of El Mercurio, Latin America is described as belong­ing to the cat­e­gory of intense, or super intense” sys­tems of plant­ing and harvesting. 

Using data from ODEPA, El Mercurio has cited yields in Chile of 12 to 13 tons pro­duced per hectare, in con­trast with just 6.5 tons/ha pro­duced (on aver­age) in Europe,” from the use of spe­cial­ized irrigation. 

Moglia from ChileOliva, con­firmed this fur­ther stat­ing that one of the prin­ci­pal com­pet­i­tive advan­tages of the region has been its high per­for­mance per hectare obtained by pro­duc­ers work­ing with fer­til­iza­tion and crop man­age­ment.” Moglia com­pared the 1,800 – 1,900 liters/ha pro­duced per hectare in Chile with the 700 liters/ha yield in Spain — a key exam­ple, she said, of the results of con­trolled irri­ga­tion ver­sus tem­po­ral irrigation.

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Even on the retail level within Chile, the changes have been notable. Fernando González, a local man­ager in Jumbo, one of the prin­ci­pal super­mar­ket chains in the coun­try, told reporters from Reportajes 24horas that, the boom in olive oil con­sump­tion (in Chile) started around five years ago…and there are more than 30 brands present in the store today.” 

Even though olive oil is read­ily avail­able from Argentina, Italy, Spain, and the U.S., González con­cluded that the Chilean mar­ket con­tin­ues to pre­fer domes­tic vari­eties, known for their excel­lent qual­ity and lauded as a local alter­na­tive to other oils. 

Increased con­sump­tion can also be linked to an over­all decline in olive oil prices in Chile per met­ric ton from 2001 to 2010, cited at $3,013.48 in September 2011, a 23 per­cent decline from 2008 ($3,914.53) and a 47 per­cent drop from September 2005, accord­ing to fig­ures from FAOSTAT and analy­sis from El Mercurio. 

So what can we expect from Chile in the future? 

Market dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, empha­sis on qual­ity, and mar­ket con­sol­i­da­tion among con­sumers in emerg­ing Latam coun­tries, U.S. and China are just a few of sev­eral pri­or­i­ties that pro­duc­ers and exporters have on their list to make the most of the cur­rent mar­ket advantages. 

Producers from Chile accounted for 15 entries in the 2016 New York International Olive Oil Competition, where one of the judg­ing panel lead­ers, Carola Dummer Medina, is also Chilean. Two brands, Olave and Kilkai achieved Gold Awards.



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