`Andalusia Boasts Record Olive Oil Exports Amidst Drought

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Andalusia Boasts Record Olive Oil Exports Amidst Drought

Sep. 2, 2014
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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Andalu­sia, Spain

The Span­ish comu­nidad autónoma (CCAA), Andalu­sia is cel­e­brat­ing a huge increase in olive oil exports for the first half of 2014. Accord­ing to the Extenda-Trade Pro­mo­tion Agency of Andalu­sia, exports between Juan­uary and June, 2014 reached €1.07 bil­lion ($1.4 bil­lion).

The num­bers marked a 76 per­cent increase com­pared to the same period in 2013. In recent months a crip­pling drought is plagu­ing the region, and this year’s har­vest is expected to be much less fruit­ful.

The explo­sive growth of exports in Andalu­sia is partly thanks to the increase in US imports of Span­ish olive oil, help­ing the coun­try take the lead over Italy as the world’s largest olive oil exporter. US imports of Andalu­sian olive oil tripled over the first half of 2014. Andalu­sia is by far the largest pro­ducer of olive oil in Spain, con­tribut­ing to nearly three quar­ters of the country’s total exports.

The pos­i­tive num­bers are wel­come in the region, where wide­spread drought is fore­cast to dev­as­tate this season’s har­vest. The har­vest, which occurs from Octo­ber to Jan­u­ary, is antic­i­pated to fall by 40 per­cent com­pared to last year.

Not even the most opti­mistic are pre­dict­ing a mil­lion tonnes,” said David Erice of Spain’s Small Farm­ers Union in an inter­view with The Guardian. We’re expect­ing some­thing closer to 2012, when pro­duc­tion was around 700,000 tonnes.”

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The wildly suc­cess­ful har­vest of last sea­son is also a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the pro­jected fall in pro­duc­tion. Trees become exhausted after a large har­vest, and often pro­duce fewer olives the fol­low­ing year.

September’s olive oil futures are at their high­est level since June 2013, as con­sumer prices are expected to rise €0.50 ($0.66) per liter. In 2012, another debil­i­tat­ing drought led to a 13% increase in price.


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