`Spain Denies it Produces Too Much Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Spain Denies it Produces Too Much Olive Oil

Dec. 15, 2012
Julie Butler

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Spain says it dis­agrees with European Commission fore­casts that it will end 2020 with annual pro­duc­tion at 1.68 mil­lion tons and car­ry­over stocks of 881,000 tons.

The world’s largest olive oil pro­ducer esti­mates pro­duc­tion of about 1.4 mil­lion tons and says it is unlikely there will be any sur­plus. Furthermore, it dis­putes the EC’s assess­ment that Spain over­pro­duces olive oil and has a struc­tural surplus.”

The views were set out in a July 12 doc­u­ment sent by Spain’s Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete to European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş. It con­tained Spain’s ini­tial response, in Spanish, to the draft action plan for the EU olive oil sec­tor. A copy of it was obtained by Olive Oil Times under EU free­dom of infor­ma­tion rules.

The draft plan and an accom­pa­ny­ing EC brief it was based on, Prospects for the Olive Oil Sector in Spain, Italy and Greece — 2012 – 2020” con­tained the pro­jec­tions that Spain says are not suf­fi­ciently justified.

EC fore­cast

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According to the 2020 brief, the area of olive groves in Spain is likely to rise 70,000 ha by 2020 to 2.54 mil­lion hectares.

Olive oil pro­duc­tion of about 1.68 mil­lion tons is expected for 2020, com­pared to less than 1.50 mil­lion in 2011, but could vary between 1.43 and 1.86 mil­lion tons.

Domestic con­sump­tion is expected to stay at 13kg/year per per­son, exports to grow from 840,000 tons in 2011 to 1.047 mil­lion in 2020, and no change in imports.

Overall, the EC brief projects an aver­age annual accu­mu­la­tion of 27,000 tons to see Spain’s total car­ry­over stocks grow from 635,000 tons at the end of 2011/12 to 881,000 for 2020/21.

Spain cur­rently over­pro­duces olive oil. This struc­tural sur­plus deep­ens imbal­ances in bar­gain­ing power in the pro­duc­tion chain,” the draft action plan said.

Spain’s esti­mates

But the doc­u­ment sent by Arias Cañete says the area of olive cul­ti­va­tion in Spain has prac­ti­cally sta­bi­lized, as a con­se­quence of the low prices of recent years,” and won’t be much higher than 2.5 mil­lion ha in 2020.

It esti­mates olive oil out­put in 2020 could range from 1.1 to 1.65 mil­lion tons, with an aver­age of about 1.4 mil­lion tons — the amount of olive oil that Spain says it already sells in a year.

Spain con­sid­ers its record har­vest of 1.6 mil­lion tons in 2012 reflected ideal weather dur­ing cul­ti­va­tion and was atypical.

Yields have shown strong vari­a­tions in recent years from a min­i­mum of 350 kg/ha up to a max­i­mum of 650 kg/ha, show­ing the depen­dence of the har­vest on weather con­di­tions,” it wrote.

At its exist­ing rate of sales and with exports on the rise, the most likely sce­nario is that the cur­rent sur­plus (which the lat­est esti­mates put at 591,600 tons) will grad­u­ally be eroded.”

Given the har­vest fore­casts and the amount of trade in recent years, car­ry­over stocks are not expected in the year 2020,” Spain said.

The assess­ments in the Commission’s doc­u­ment on the state of the olive oil mar­ket and the out­look for Spain should be sub­ject to fur­ther study,” it said.

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