`Historic Olive Harvest Expected in Portugal

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Historic Olive Harvest Expected in Portugal

Feb. 24, 2016
Sukhsatej Batra

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The National Insti­tute of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries Sta­tis­tics, Por­tu­gal esti­mated that olive pro­duc­tion for olive oil would be his­toric this year.

In the Agri­cul­tural fore­cast released on Feb­ru­ary 17, 2016, olives for olive oil pro­duc­tion could be as high as 765,000 tons, which would be the third-largest har­vest in the last 75 years. It would also be 75 per­cent more than the olive har­vest of last year.

Por­tu­gal only pro­duced 438,000 tons of olives in 2014, a sig­nif­i­cantly lower yield than the 634,000 tons har­vested in 2013.


Although olives are cul­ti­vated in sev­eral dif­fer­ent regions of Por­tu­gal, the high out­put expected this year is mainly from the Alen­tejo region in south Por­tu­gal. Alen­tejo is the largest and most impor­tant region for olive pro­duc­tion in Por­tu­gal and pro­duces about two-thirds of the coun­try’s olive oil.

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The region uses var­ied tra­di­tional, semi-inten­sive and inten­sive meth­ods for olive tree cul­ti­va­tion. How­ever, inten­sive restruc­tur­ing of olive farms, plant­ing of highly pro­duc­tive olive vari­eties, effi­cient irri­ga­tion sys­tems, appro­pri­ate fer­til­iza­tion and less severe prun­ing in Alen­tejo may be respon­si­ble for the high olive har­vest expected this year.

Although there are more than 30 vari­eties of olives native to Por­tu­gal, the most com­mon vari­eties cul­ti­vated for olive oil and table olives in Por­tu­gal are Galega, Cobrançosa, Cor­dovil, Verdeal, Madural and Car­rasquenha.

Of the six regions with the Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin for pro­duc­tion of olive oil, three — Azeite do Norte Alen­te­jano, Azeite de Moura and Azeite Alen­tejo Inte­rior — are in the Alen­tejo region. The remain­ing three regions are Azeite de Trás-os-Montes, Azeite do Rib­atejo and Azeite da Beira Inte­rior.

Although not as well-known as olive oils from Spain, Italy and Greece, 22 Por­tuguese olive oils were rec­og­nized among some of the world’s best at the 2015 New York Inter­na­tional Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion.


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