`Historic Olive Harvest Expected in Portugal - Olive Oil Times


Historic Olive Harvest Expected in Portugal

By Sukhsatej Batra
Feb. 24, 2016 10:12 UTC

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.

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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