`Biggest Season Ever for Spanish Olive Oil, Farmers Unimpressed - Olive Oil Times

Biggest Season Ever for Spanish Olive Oil, Farmers Unimpressed

Sep. 13, 2010
Sarah Schwager

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By Sarah Schwager
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires

This year’s Spanish olive oil mar­ket­ing sea­son has been con­firmed as the most suc­cess­ful in his­tory.

Yet the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities (AEMO) says this is in stark con­trast with a depressed mar­ket inca­pable of pay­ing pro­duc­tion costs”.

The 2009 – 2010 sea­son has already beaten all Spanish olive oil export records, thrash­ing the yearly aver­age for the past four years by 33%.

Domestic con­sump­tion also remains strong with the total mar­ket 10% higher than the pre­vi­ous year.

Meanwhile, the aver­age price of olive oil barely reached 1.76 euros (US$2.26) per kilo­gram, an easy sell for the mar­keters but dev­as­tat­ing for pro­duc­ers, which in pre­vi­ous years was sell­ing for 2.7 euros per kilo (US$3.47), but dropped 30% in the 2008 – 2009 sea­son.

We started the course’ with very good news regard­ing the global mar­ket­ing of Spanish olive oil, con­firm­ing that in this har­vest we were going to pul­ver­ize all his­tor­i­cal records reach­ing monthly export lev­els never seen before,” AEMO said in its lat­est bul­letin.

According to Spain’s Olive Oil Agency, in the past finan­cial year more than one mil­lion tons of olive oil were mar­keted, of which 577,000 tons left Spain, 17% more than the pre­vi­ous har­vest and 33% more in rela­tion to the yearly aver­age over the past four years.

Olive oil is cap­ti­vat­ing for­eign con­sumers and the growth of con­sump­tion con­tin­ues on an upwards slope,” AEMO said

But the Association says the equi­lib­rium price does not reflect this opti­mistic con­sumer sales sce­nario, with Spanish olive grow­ers endur­ing their sec­ond sea­son in a row of below-cost pro­duc­tion.

europe-biggest-season-ever-for-spanish-olive-oil-farmers-unimpressed-olive-oil-times-spanish-association-of-olive-municipalities-aemoIn January, it was reported that Spanish olive grow­ers had lost mil­lions of euros in the lat­est sea­son, agri­cul­tur­ists los­ing on aver­age 210 euros (US$270) per hectare as cheap seed oils thrived.

According to the Spanish Olive Oil Exporters Association, Spain is the top olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­try in the world with an aver­age annual pro­duc­tion of 700,000 to 800,000 tons, reach­ing as high as 1.4 mil­lion in recent sea­sons.

Spain also tri­umphs in exports with an annual aver­age in the last 10 years of more than 300,000 tons, reach­ing up to 600,000 tons in some sea­sons.

These fig­ures show just how suc­cess­ful the 2009 – 2010 olive oil sea­son was. But it appears the least likely to reap the rewards are the ones doing the hard­est work – the olive grow­ers.

The AEMO says while Spain’s olive crops are look­ing good for the next sea­son they are far from what could be labeled an his­toric har­vest.

The only thing that is, and will be, his­toric is global olive oil sales, so that we can and shall con­firm that prices will rise – since from a ratio­nal approach we have no doubts – but from this mar­ket you never know…”

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