Spanish Officials Determined to Investigate Price Decreases

In spite of poor harvests around most of the Mediterranean basin and a good one in Spain, olive oil prices continue to fall. Producers and their allies are demanding an investigation.

Mar. 20, 2019
By Eduardo Hernandez

Recent News

Although global olive oil pro­duc­tion lev­els have dropped com­pared with last year, Spain’s decreas­ing olive oil prices are wor­ry­ing local offi­cials.

The big con­cern we have is these prices,” Francisco Reyes, the pres­i­dent of Jaén’s Provincial Olive Oil Council, told Europa Press. The [global] oil har­vest dropped by seven per­cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year and it is not log­i­cal that prices are in the where they are.”

The sit­u­a­tion is unsus­tain­able… That is why we insist on the need to put in place all the nec­es­sary mea­sures to deal with this cri­sis.- COAG spokesper­son

Agricultural orga­ni­za­tions are demand­ing excep­tional mea­sures be taken in order to put an end to the ongo­ing eco­nomic loss, and are ask­ing the com­pet­i­tive author­i­ties to open an inves­ti­ga­tion.

According to offi­cial data from Poolred and Infaoliva, olive oil pro­duc­ers received an aver­age of €2.38 ($2.70) per liter in February, com­pared to €3.40 ($3.86) per liter in the same month of last year, a 30 per­cent decrease.

See Also:Olive Oil Prices

In May 2017 the aver­age price per liter was €4.00 ($4.54), the high­est recorded in the past years, and a stag­ger­ing 50 per­cent decrease in com­par­i­son to the cur­rent price.

With the coun­try pro­duc­ing an over­all high-qual­ity har­vest, the pro­duc­ers have stressed that the sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­larly odd” since the cam­paign should be a pos­i­tive one that works in their inter­est. At the end of the cam­paign, pro­duc­tion num­bers are expected to be close to 1.8 mil­lion tons.


The some­what veiled cri­tiques of the pro­duc­ers have mainly been aimed at the indus­trial and bot­tling sec­tors, which process and refine their prod­ucts for sub­se­quent mar­ket­ing, and not so much towards super­mar­kets where prices have only slightly decreased.

Currently in super­mar­kets, the prices for olive oils with pri­vate labels ranges from €3.00 ($3.41) and €3.70 ($4.20) per liter.

Meanwhile, the indus­trial and bot­tling sec­tors have rejected these accu­sa­tions, high­light­ing that exports to other coun­tries with low har­vests have not been as suc­cess­ful as expected. Furthermore, the sur­plus has not been absorbed as pro­duc­ers had hoped, with olive oil con­sump­tion at the national level being around half a mil­lion tons.

In Andalusia, where 80 per­cent of all the Spanish olive oil is pro­duced, the agri­cul­tural orga­ni­za­tions Asaja, COAG and UPA have pub­licly advo­cated for the gov­ern­ment to make a request to Brussels to acti­vate the pri­vate stor­age sys­tem. The pri­vate stor­age sys­tem, last acti­vated in 2012, is a mech­a­nism that pro­vides European aid to tem­porar­ily remove the prod­uct from the mar­ket to recu­per­ate the prices.

The sit­u­a­tion is unsus­tain­able,” COAG said in a state­ment on its web­site. We can­not main­tain these prices when we have such a large dif­fer­en­tial with the rest of the coun­tries. That is why we insist on the need to put in place all the nec­es­sary mea­sures to deal with this cri­sis.”

COAG has already made pro­pos­als to try to reverse the sit­u­a­tion by inter­ven­ing in the mar­ket, and has peti­tioned to the European Commission to acti­vate pri­vate stor­age,” the state­ment added.

However, European reg­u­la­tion requires that the price in the mar­ket be less than €1.52 ($1.73) for the lam­pante cat­e­gory, €1.71 ($1.94) for the vir­gin oils and €1.78 ($2.02) for the extra vir­gin oils dur­ing the a rep­re­sen­ta­tive period,” none of which apply in this case.

Sources from the afore­men­tioned orga­ni­za­tions have warned that it has been more than a decade since the ref­er­enced prices have been updated and that the pri­vate stor­age sys­tem can be acti­vated when the sec­tor reg­is­ters grave eco­nomic loss.”

The pro­duc­ers stated that they have already encoun­tered great loss with the cost of pro­duc­tion for the extra vir­gin oil, which is around €2.80 ($3.18).

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has rec­og­nized that there is a strange behav­ior” being seen in the mar­ket and ensured that the nec­es­sary mea­sures will be adapted to solve the prob­lem.


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