`This Year's Harvest Not as Bad as the Last One, Council Wagers


This Year's Harvest Not as Bad as the Last One, Council Wagers

Sep. 9, 2015
Olive Oil Times Staff

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The Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC) pre­dicts olive oil pro­duc­tion for this har­vest sea­son will be some­where between the last one (the worst in nearly twenty years), and the one before that (the best of all time).

If it seems the Madrid-based inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion is not exactly going out on a limb in its lat­est fore­cast, it reflects the high level of uncer­tainty about the 2015/2016 har­vest that will begin next month and the dif­fi­culty in pre­dict­ing what will hap­pen with so many mov­ing parts across vast regions, the Coun­cil said in its August newslet­ter.

The IOC pegged pro­duc­tion for the 2015/2016 har­vest at more than 2.5 mil­lion tons,” or, in other words, it won’t be the worst har­vest in 15 years. The Coun­cil declined to define an upper limit to its fore­cast. Last year’s dis­mal pro­duc­tion total was 2.4 mil­lion tons.
See more: World Olive Oil Pro­duc­tion Fig­ures (PDF)
In mak­ing its pre­dic­tion for the com­ing har­vest the IOC made no men­tion of Italy, which last year had one of its worst sea­sons on record, and it was unclear what data from other major pro­duc­ers like Tunisia and Greece were fac­tored into the fore­cast.

As for Spain, the world’s largest olive oil pro­ducer, the pic­ture is far from clear either. An expert with AEMO, the Span­ish Asso­ci­a­tion of Olive Munic­i­pal­i­ties, José María Penco, said an analy­sis of the agro-cli­matic vari­ables that affect fruit devel­op­ment point to a wide vari­a­tion between irri­gated and non-irri­gated farms, and all that can be said so far is that we are not look­ing at a bumper crop this year.

A more accu­rate mea­sure of the har­vest would require an on-the-ground sur­vey of farms but, Penco explained, such a sys­tem is only in place in the Span­ish province of Andalu­sia, which had not yet released its fig­ures.


Going on cli­matic data alone, Penco explained to the IOC, it does­n’t look good. In July, tem­per­a­tures reached 40 °C (104 °F) on more than twenty days in south­ern Spain caus­ing fruit that had not yet com­pleted the stone hard­en­ing stage to wither away and fall to the ground.

For his part, Penco places an upper limit for this year’s pro­duc­tion in Spain at 1.2 mil­lion tons, a marked improve­ment over last year’s 825,000 tons, but a long way from its 2013/2014 record of 1.78 mil­lion.

All this uncer­tainty along with a dwin­dling sup­ply of last year’s stock has con­tin­ued to push olive oil prices higher around the world. Prices for extra vir­gin, as well as refined oils from Spain, Italy, Greece and Tunisia are all at or near record lev­els.

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