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.
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.
Olive Groves (ha)
Castile and León
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.