Olive Groves Continue Steady Expansion Across Spain

The number of olive groves in Spain increased by 19,230 hectares last year. The Canary Islands and Castilla y Leon experienced the most growth.

Jan. 19, 2022
By Daniel Dawson

Recent News

The amount of land ded­i­cated to olive cul­ti­va­tion in Spain con­tin­ues to expand, accord­ing to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s most recent land use sur­vey.

Olive groves sprawl over 2,770,485 hectares – an area slightly larger than North Macedonia or Massachusetts – in the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­try, a 0.7‑percent increase com­pared with 2020. Of these groves, almost 93 per­cent – 2,573,396 hectares – are ded­i­cated to olive oil pro­duc­tion.

However, the expan­sion of Spain’s olive groves has not hap­pened uni­formly across the coun­try.

See Also:Olive Oil Production in Spain Expected to Fall, Officials Say

Olives are grown com­mer­cially in 15 of Spain’s 17 autonomous com­mu­ni­ties (Asturias and Cantabria are the odd ones out). All but two of these com­mu­ni­ties (the Basque Country and Galicia) saw the sur­face area of olive groves increase from 2020 to 2021.

The largest increases in olive grove cul­ti­va­tion were seen in the Canary Islands and Castile and León, which expe­ri­enced increases of nearly 15 per­cent and 12 per­cent, respec­tively.

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Meanwhile, Aragón and Catalonia expe­ri­enced the small­est increase in olive groves of 0.1 per­cent each.

Andalusia, the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region by a wide mar­gin, saw its olive groves increase by 0.6 per­cent in 2021, ris­ing to 1,673,071 hectares – an area slightly larger than Connecticut.

After Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha is Spain’s sec­ond-largest olive grow­ing region and expe­ri­enced slightly more growth with olive grove sur­face area ris­ing by 1.3 per­cent to 449,388 hectares.

Extremadura, the third-largest olive grow­ing region in Spain, expe­ri­enced a far smaller increase in its olive groves, which grew by 0.3 per­cent to reach 288,692 hectares.

Region
Olive Groves (ha)
Andalusia
1,673,071
Castilla-La Mancha
449,388
Extremadura
288,692
Catalonia
114,350
Valencian Community
95,695
Aragón
60,332
Madrid
29,621
Murcia
29,032
Navarre
9,922
Balearic Islands
9,126
Castile and León
6,986
La Rioja
3,475
Canary Islands
435
Basque Country
322
Galicia
38
Total
2,770,485
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The growth in over­all olive grove sur­face area also sug­gests that the num­ber of organic olive groves also increased in Spain.

However, this will not be con­firmed until the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food releases a sep­a­rate report on organic cul­ti­va­tion next sum­mer.

According to the report pub­lished by the min­istry ear­lier this year, there were 222,723 hectares of organic olive groves in Spain in 2020, a 6.4‑percent increase com­pared with 2019.



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