Latest Forecast Still Gloomy for Spanish Olive Oil Harvest

Oct. 23, 2012
By Julie Butler

Recent News

Jaén President Francisco Reyes (second from left) and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, Luis Planas (center) at the pre­sen­ta­tion of the first olive pro­duc­tion of the season.

New and more thor­ough esti­mates have pegged Andalusia’s olive oil pro­duc­tion at less than 514,000 tons this season — about half the aver­age of the last five har­vests — and Spain’s total pro­duc­tion at just over 625,000 tons.

According to the fore­cast from the Andalusian regional gov­ern­ment, the worst-hit of its provinces will be world olive oil cap­i­tal Jaén, which can expect just 170,000 tons, a nearly 70 per­cent plunge on last year.

Globally, olive oil output is tipped to total 2.75 mil­lion tons, which would be down a fifth on the last season.

No-one seems to be dis­put­ing the fig­ures but there is dis­agree­ment about the con­se­quences.

Andalusia’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, Luis Planas — who released the esti­mates yes­ter­day — said that com­bined with carry-over olive oil stocks which stood at about 700,000 tons at the end of September, the coming har­vest would be enough to “supply mar­kets and meet demand.”


But agri­cul­tural unions COAG and UPA fear that won’t be the case. Agustín Rodríguez, UPA gen­eral sec­re­tary for Andalusia, said that with demand at about 1.4 mil­lion tons, a short­fall of about 100,000 tons is likely.

In a market cur­rently marked by very low levels of whole­sale sales and con­tin­u­ing high prices, he urged pro­duc­ers to be patient and not cave in on price. Poolred’s ex-mill weighted aver­age price for olive oil is cur­rently €2432/t.

Official pre­dic­tion based on local feed­back


The fore­casts were the first in-depth offi­cial eval­u­a­tion of Spain’s likely olive oil and table olive output in 2012/2013 and were based on infor­ma­tion from sources includ­ing the Plant Health Alert and Information Network (RAIF), phone calls to mills, land and pro­duc­tion data from regional panels, and sta­tis­tics from regional author­i­ties.

The fore­cast says that the start of the season was char­ac­ter­ized by plan­ta­tions weak­ened after three sea­sons of record pro­duc­tion, and unfa­vor­able weather includ­ing low rain­fall in winter and and severe frosts in February.


The lack of crop vital­ity and veg­e­ta­tive devel­op­ment and the drought and high tem­per­a­tures in turn caused a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in flow­er­ing, poor fruit set, and an aver­age of olives per shoot much lower than in other sea­sons.

“There aren’t many olives on the trees, but the har­vest could be improved by rain in the coming months” it says.