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Olive Oil Production Expected to Decrease Significantly in Spain

Estimates from a coalition of olive oil producing cooperatives estimate that this year's harvest may be the lowest since the 2014/15 season.

Aug. 19, 2019
By Daniel Dawson

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Spain’s total olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to decrease by 44 per­cent in the 2019/20 crop year, accord­ing to an esti­mate by Andalu­si­a’s Olive Oil Sec­tor Coun­cil of Agri-food Coop­er­a­tives.

At a meet­ing in Jaén, the coali­tion of olive oil pro­duc­ing coop­er­a­tives said that pro­duc­tion was likely to be around one mil­lion tons, which would be the low­est yield since 2014/15.

All signs point to a smaller crop, mainly dimin­ished by the lack of rain­fall.- Luis Car­los Valero, spokesman for Asaja Jaén

Last year, Spain pro­duced 1.77 mil­lion tons, a record high, accord­ing to the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Fish­eries.

All signs point to a smaller crop, mainly dimin­ished by the lack of rain­fall,” Luis Car­los Valero, a spokesman for Jaén’s Asso­ci­a­tion of Young Farm­ers and Ranch­ers (Asaja), said after the meet­ing.

See more: 2019 Olive Har­vest News

The Olive Oil Sec­tor Coun­cil blamed the hot and dry spring for the larger-than-expected pro­duc­tion decrease but did say that this could change depend­ing on the weather for the rest of the sum­mer and autumn.

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The province of Toledo, which sits just south­west of Madrid, is pre­dicted to be hit espe­cially hard with an esti­mated 80-per­cent decrease in pro­duc­tion. Over­all, the regions of Extremadura and Castilla-La Man­cha, which are gen­er­ally the sec­ond- and third-largest pro­duc­ing regions in Spain, are also expected to expe­ri­ence siz­able pro­duc­tion decreases this year.

Andalu­sia – the largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region in Spain by a wide mar­gin – is expected to expe­ri­ence a decline of about 48 per­cent. Pro­duc­ers expect to yield about 760,000 tons of olive oil, down from 1.56 mil­lion tons last year.

These pre­dic­tions largely match ones made by Andalusia’s Coor­di­na­tor of Agri­cul­ture and Live­stock Orga­ni­za­tions (COAG) in June, which pre­dicted a pro­duc­tion decrease of about 50 per­cent.

At the time, sev­eral experts told Olive Oil Times that pro­duc­ers would have to wait until the autumn to more accu­rately esti­mate their yields.

Accord­ing to Accuweather, the rest of the Span­ish sum­mer, as well as the begin­ning of autumn, are pre­dicted to be hot and dry. How­ever, this may change in Octo­ber as wet air from the Atlantic arrives on the Iber­ian Penin­sula, lead­ing to unusu­ally large amounts of rain.

Nei­ther of these fore­casts is expected to change the pro­duc­tion esti­mates too much – olives tend to ben­e­fit from long and hot sum­mers – but the qual­ity of the oil could be diluted if too much rain falls right before the olives are har­vested.

Farm­ers inter­viewed by Olive Oil Times in June said they were not con­cerned about a poten­tial drop in qual­ity yet and would wait to see how the weather turned out.

While the offi­cials from the Olive Oil Sec­tor Coun­cil dis­cussed the com­ing har­vest, Spain’s Food Chain Infor­ma­tion Agency (AICA) announced good news from the pre­vi­ous one; 140,000 tons of Span­ish olive oil were sold domes­ti­cally and exported last month.

It is the best mar­ket­ing fig­ure for the year and the sec­ond-largest for a month of July of the last six cam­paigns,” Car­los Valero said.

This news comes as a wel­come relief for pro­duc­ers as it means domes­tic con­sump­tion is con­tin­u­ing to creep up and exports remained strong, in spite of trade ten­sions between the Euro­pean Union and the United States, which is one of the largest mar­kets for Span­ish olive oil.





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