Business

Report Predicts Mediocre Harvest in Andalusia

The report cites unseasonably hot temperatures along with a lack of rain as the main reasons for the dip, which could see production drops of up to 50 percent in certain areas

Photo courtesy of COAG Jaen
Jun. 10, 2019
By Daniel Dawson
Photo courtesy of COAG Jaen

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A new report released by Andalusia’s Coordinator of Agriculture and Livestock Organizations (COAG) has said that Andalusia should expect a “medium-low” har­vest in the 2019/20 cam­paign.

Many pro­duc­ers in Spain were set to enter an off-year this cam­paign, but still expected an aver­age har­vest.

Making a fore­cast for the year 2020 is dif­fi­cult given that a lot of time is left before the har­vest season.- Rafael Pico Lapuente, exec­u­tive direct of Asoliva

The provinces of Sevilla and Jaén are expected to be the hard­est hit and may see pro­duc­tion fig­ures reduced by as much as 50 per­cent. Malaga and Cádiz are also expected to see decreases by as much as 30 per­cent.

In Córdoba, there are dif­fer­ent yield esti­mates depend­ing on the region, rang­ing from unaf­fected groves in Subbetica to ones that are expected to yield no olives in Los Pedroches.

See more: Olive Oil Production

Overall, Andalusia pro­duces about 80 per­cent of Spain’s annual olive oil yield.

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COAG Andalusia has attrib­uted the drop in pro­duc­tion to high tem­per­a­tures and a lack of rain­fall, which caused sig­nif­i­cant fruit losses and left other grow­ers with olives that will not be worth har­vest­ing for oil pro­duc­tion.

Andalusia and the rest of Spain have expe­ri­enced an unsea­son­ably hot end to the spring, but tem­per­a­tures are expected to cool over the next few weeks.

This reprieve may not last long though as the entire Iberian Peninsula is pre­dicted to expe­ri­ence “long-dura­tion heat waves” through­out the summer with tem­per­a­tures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, accord­ing to a report from Accuweather.

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Whether or not pro­duc­ers’ olive groves are irri­gated has gen­er­ally dic­tated what kind of pro­duc­tion they should expect to see.

“The dry ones [with­out irri­ga­tion] show any­thing from no har­vest to half of an aver­age har­vest,” the report said. “The irri­gated areas are doing slightly better, although after a good set, some have also aborted fruits. Depending on the amount of water avail­able and when irri­ga­tion started, the yield may vary, but the fore­cast should be between 50 per­cent and normal.”

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However, some in the sector believe that the COAG Andalusia report is a bit pre­ma­ture and oil pro­duc­ers should not worry yet.

“Making a fore­cast for the year 2020 is dif­fi­cult given that a lot of time is left before the har­vest season,” Rafael Pico Lapuente, the direc­tor of the Spanish Association of Olive Oil Exporting, Industry and Commerce (Asoliva), told Olive Oil Times. “However, [many] olive trees are in a per­fect state at present, so we should not rule out a large pro­duc­tion for next year.”

In the 2018/19 cam­paign, Spain pro­duced a record 1.77 mil­lion tons of olive oil, accord­ing to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food. The International Olive Council esti­mated Spain’s pro­duc­tion to be a bit lower – 1.60 mil­lion ton – but has yet to revise these fig­ures.

Pico Lapuente’s opin­ion was echoed by sev­eral farm­ers and other fig­ures in the sector, many of whom expect this off-season to pro­duce an aver­age yield, though all said it was too early to pre­dict and that farm­ers would need to wait until the end of the summer to see what hap­pens.

“Olive trees thrive under stress,” Callum Henderson, an olive farmer and oil pro­ducer in the province of Granada, told Olive Oil Times. “It’s still early. My guess is the yield will be down, but the qual­ity will be good.”