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.

By Daniel Dawson
Jan. 19, 2022 08:02 UTC

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.

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.

RegionOlive Groves (ha)
Castilla-La Mancha449,388
Valencian Community95,695
Balearic Islands9,126
Castile and León6,986
La Rioja3,475
Canary Islands435
Basque Country322
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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