`Conditions Ripe in Andalusia for Return to Peak Olive Oil Production

Europe

Conditions Ripe in Andalusia for Return to Peak Olive Oil Production

Oct. 21, 2013
Julie Butler

Recent News

conditions-ripe-in-andalusia-for-return-to-peak-olive-oil-production-olive-oil-times-elena-viboras-left
Elena Víb­o­ras (left), Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Rural Devel­op­ment, announced the Andalu­sian esti­mates in Jaén today.

Spain could return to record lev­els and pump out about 1.6 mil­lion tons of olive oil this sea­son, based on a a new fore­cast that Andalu­sia alone will make more than 1.3 mil­lion tons.

Accord­ing to fig­ures from the Andalu­sian regional gov­ern­ment, its own out­put will come from an expected — and immi­nent — har­vest of 6.2 mil­lion tons of olives, mean­ing a yield of about 21 per­cent.

Given these fig­ures and oth­ers from Spain’s Olive Oil Agency, it said the out­look for the national har­vest was a drop of just 0.3 per­cent in the 2011/12 all-time record of just over 1.6 mil­lion tons of olive oil.

But the big dif­fer­ence, accord­ing to the farmer union UPA, is that after a dis­mal har­vest last sea­son, this time Spain starts off with olive oil stocks of just 302,663 tons, less than half its 2011/12 car­ry­over of 692,500 tons.

Advertisement

That means the same har­vest, but less olive oil on the mar­ket,” said UPA spokesman Agustín Rodríguez, who also stressed that if it did not rain soon, pro­duc­tion could be up to ten per­cent lower than fore­cast.

Favor­able weather aided recov­ery

Announc­ing the Andalu­sian esti­mates in Jaén today, Elena Víb­o­ras, Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Rural Devel­op­ment in the Andalu­sian regional gov­ern­ment, said they were based on sources includ­ing nearly a third of the region’s 820 olive oil mills.

The region’s antic­i­pated pro­duc­tion of 1.3 mil­lion tons of olive oil would be about a third above the aver­age for the last five sea­sons. The province of Jaén is expected to deliver 715,000 tons of this total, fol­lowed by Cór­doba with nearly 274,000 and Granada with about 132,000 tons.

Spain’s total pro­duc­tion fell to just 600,000 tons last sea­son — due to adverse weather — which depleted stocks but also pro­moted bet­ter flow­er­ing, fruit set and fruit devel­op­ment this sea­son.

Accord­ing to the Andalu­sian fore­cast, other fac­tors were favor­able weather con­di­tions, namely heavy rain­fall, good tem­per­a­tures dur­ing flow­er­ing, a good level of water stress, and no severe win­ter frosts.

These cir­cum­stances induced the phe­nom­e­non known in Span­ish as vecería — the alter­na­tion between high and low yield har­vests.

Table olives

The olive oil har­vest in Andalu­sia is expected to total about 411,000 tons — up seven per­cent on the aver­age for the last four sea­sons- and that for Spain nearly 497,000 tons.

Ear­lier this month, the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil pro­vi­sion­ally fore­cast a world­wide total of 2.5 mil­lion tons of table olives and 3 mil­lion tons of olive oil for 2013/14.

Seek­ing bet­ter grower prices

Vib­o­ras said the Andalu­sian gov­ern­ment would keep work­ing to improve incomes in the sec­tor and profit mar­gins for both grow­ers and upstream busi­nesses (such as mills and coop­er­a­tives), although this would not be an easy task.”

Rodríguez said reduc­ing the high level of frag­men­ta­tion on the pro­duc­tion side would be the fastest way to coun­ter­act the abu­sive poli­cies of the big retail­ers, who will be the ones decid­ing prices in the imme­di­ate future, not obey­ing the sup­ply of olive oil in the mar­ket — which will be less than two sea­sons ago — and their con­tin­ued use of olive oil as a loss leader prod­uct.”

The Andalu­sian olive oil sec­tor

Andalu­sia ded­i­cates just under a third of its arable land to olive cul­ti­va­tion — a total of 1.5 mil­lion hectares.The major­ity of its about 170,000 olive plan­ta­tions are less than 10 hectares.

Together they gen­er­ate annual pro­duc­tion to the value of more than €2.2 bil­lion ($3b), nearly half of which comes from Jaén.

The offi­cial olive oil sea­son runs from Octo­ber to Sep­tem­ber.



Related News