Organic Olive Groves Continue to Flourish in Spain

Andalusia and Aragón experienced the most significant increases in organic olive cultivation.

Sep. 29, 2022
By Daniel Dawson

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The land ded­i­cated to organic olive groves in Spain increased by 16 per­cent in 2021, accord­ing to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Organic olive groves now cover 256,510 hectares across 16 of Spain’s 17 autonomous com­mu­ni­ties, an area larger than Luxemburg. Cantabria, in the very north of the coun­try, is the only region with­out organic olive groves.

However, organic olive cul­ti­va­tion did not increase uni­formly across the coun­try. Between 2020 and 2021, four regions – the Basque Country, Castilla-La Mancha, the Canary Islands and Galicia – expe­ri­enced a decline in organic olive groves.

See Also:Harvest Outlook Worsens in Spain

The most pro­nounced of these declines came in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain’s sec­ond largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region, which lost 1,762 hectares of organic groves from 2020 to 2021, a 2.4 per­cent decrease.

The Basque Country had a far larger rel­a­tive decrease (15 per­cent) but only saw organic grove cov­er­age fall from 25 to 21 hectares.

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Perhaps unsur­pris­ingly, the largest increase in organic olive groves by area came in Andalusia, the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region by a wide mar­gin. Organic olive grove cov­er­age rose by nearly one-third from 88,691 hectares in 2020 to 117,380 hectares in 2021.

However, the largest per­cent increase was seen in Aragón, with organic olive cul­ti­va­tion ris­ing by 79 per­cent from 4,420 to 7,916 hectares in the same period.

Region
2021 Organic (ha)
2020 Organic (ha)
% Change
Andalusia
117,380
88,691
32.3
Aragón
7,916
4,420
79.1
Asturias
0.04
0.04
Balearic Islands
1,255
1,056
18.9
Basque Country
21
25
-15.4
Canary Islands
61
62
-0.9
Castilla-La Mancha
72,392
74,154
-2.4
Castilla y León
699
697
0.3
Catalonia
9,666
8,870
9.0
Extremadura
29,147
29,131
0.1
Galicia
179
179
Madrid
3,864
3,716
4.0
Murcia
5,402
4,583
17.9
Navarra
869
813
6.8
La Rioja
754
736
2.4
Valencia
6,902
5,589
23.5
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Extremadura, Spain’s third-largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region, expe­ri­enced a very slight increase in organic olive grove cul­ti­va­tion.

Catalonia, another promi­nent olive-grow­ing region, saw its share of organic olive groves increase by 9 per­cent, ris­ing from 8,870 to 9,666 hectares.

Overall, organic agri­cul­tural cul­ti­va­tions in Spain increased by 8 per­cent and now rep­re­sent nearly 11 per­cent of all agri­cul­tural land in the coun­try. The num­ber of agri­cul­tural oper­a­tions oper­at­ing under organic stan­dards rose by 16 per­cent.

The largest gains were seen in the cul­ti­va­tion of ani­mal fod­der (39 per­cent), nuts (35 per­cent), banana and sub­trop­i­cal fruits (25 per­cent) and cit­rus (21 per­cent).



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