After last year’s low olive oil production season, Spain was poised to see substantially stronger numbers this year, and the Andalusian government’s official forecast affirmed this. But with provisional December numbers in, ASAJA-Jaén (Jaén’s Young Farmers Agricultural Association) said the estimates almost certainly won’t be met.
The government forecasted that the Andalusian region as a whole would produce 1.03 million metric tons of olive oil, a sizeable jump from last year’s total regional output of roughly 675,000 metric tons. So far, however, Andalusia has only produced 664,000 metric tons, just 64 percent of the total forecast.
Jaén, the regional, national and global epicenter of olive oil production, is even further behind. The province has produced roughly 295,000 metric tons, which means they currently fall 40 percent short of the total estimated 485,000 metric tons.
It’s not all bad news, though, as the rest of the country’s production is on track. Provisional production thus far for Spain (beyond Andalusia) sits at 195,000 metric tons, which already meets the projected forecast.
But given that Andalusia is responsible for providing the bulk of the country’s olive oil, the rest of Spain’s output won’t make the necessary impact on final production. Indeed, since October, the entire country has produced 859,000 metric tons; meanwhile, the total national forecast was set at 1.2 million, likely an unreachable number, especially since the harvest began earlier than usual.
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Luis Carlos Valero, the manager and spokesperson for ASAJA-Jaén, shares a mixed outlook. “We find ourselves in front of a harvest that will be very tight when it comes to oil availability….and despite the latest rains, the olive groves are at a deficit for water, which will in all likelihood affect next year’s harvest.” Even still, he says “the numbers show the market is stable when it comes to sales and prices, and it should remain that way.”