New estimates for Italy’s 2022/23 crop year show a 27 percent decrease compared with the previous campaign.
The yield at the end of the crop year in September is expected to remain at 241,000 tons, and the first forecasts for the coming 2023/24 crop year show signs of improvement.
It would be a fatal error to believe that the next campaign will fix everything. On the contrary, reduced olive oil stocks in Europe warn us about the future availability of extra virgin olive oil.
Still, significant uncertainties rose as heavy rainfall was reported during flowering throughout the country. Considerable differences are expected in terms of volumes among the most relevant olive oil-producing regions of the country.
Olive oil storage totals are expected to remain low and continue to impact record-high olive oil prices.See Also:Europe Confirms Steep Decline in Olive Oil Production
This is the complex scenario discussed during a meeting of the European Commission’s Civil Dialog Group on the Agricultural Market, which brought together some of the most relevant farming and olive oil-producing organizations.
An official of the European farming organization Copa-Cogeca noted that Italy has an estimated 235,000 tons of olive oil stocks, 40 percent lower than in June 2022.
According to the organization, olive oil prices in Italy during the next marketing year could climb up to €11 per kilogram.
During the meeting, the Federation of the European Union Olive Oil Industry (Fedolive) noted how extra virgin olive oil prices in Italy are now at about €8 per kilogram. Sky-high prices are taking a toll on the olive oil sold in Italy.
According to the Italian Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea), olive oil prices in the Italian market rose by 46.3 percent from March 2022 to March 2023.
A large portion of national olive oil sales are made in supermarkets, which, according to Fedolive, will have to accept significant price increases in future negotiations with olive oil producers.
As production estimates remain low and future olive oil availability on the market is put into question, prices are expected to grow even more. A high level of inflation and increasing logistics and production costs further contribute to rising prices.
Commenting on the findings at the E.U. meeting, Andrea Carrassi, the general director of the Italian Association of the Edible Oil Industry (Assitol), warned that the next harvest is unlikely to seal the wounds of a troubled market.
“It would be a fatal error to believe that the next campaign will fix everything,” Carrassi said. “On the contrary, reduced olive oil stocks in Europe warn us about the future availability of extra virgin olive oil in the next months and the next campaign.”
“Even if we are now expecting a better season than the last one, the risk now is to see last year’s situation replicating itself, darkening prospects for our sector,” he added.
“It is urgent that both the sector and the institutions thoroughly approach the matter with measures that allow us to secure extra virgin olive oils for our consumers,” Carrassi concluded. “If not, the health of the Italians, which owes so much to this well-being juice, might not count anymore on the olive oil’s benefits.”