Spain’s olive oil exports continue at record levels and there’s also talk of a new record in production this season with more than 1.5 million tons already produced in the five months to February 28, the latest figures show.
Since the start of this season on October 1, the world’s biggest olive oil producer has processed 7.7 million tons of olives, with an average yield of 20 percent. Exports total 413,400 tons – up a third on the average for the previous four seasons – and domestic consumption 255,400 tons, though the February figures for both are provisional.
Also according to Spain’s Food Chain Information Agency (AICA), the country’s table olive season, which started in September, has seen 570,030 tons produced, a 16 percent rise on last season, but sales are down 7 percent.
And AICA’s latest market data shows that at the end of February, Spain held stocks of nearly 643,000 tons of table olives and 1.2 million tons of olive oil.
Prices higher in Tunisia than in Spain
While production has swung back up in Spain after last year’s dismal result, poor harvests are the lot this year for its Mediterranean neighbors Greece, Tunisia and Turkey.
As noted in the International Olive Council’s February newsletter, the average extra virgin olive oil ex-mill price in Spain is now not only below that of Italy and Greece but also Tunisia. Olioofficina magazine’s indicative prices at March 25 show a range for extra virgin olive oil in Greece of €2.80-2.85/kg, Tunisia €2.35-2.40/kg and Spain €1.95-2.02/kg.
Citizen petition power
AICA, meanwhile, is the first agency of the Spanish government to open a profile on Change.org…, which describes itself as “the world’s largest petition platform.” AICA said it did so “in order to respond to citizen requests concerning compliance with new laws promoting better functioning of the food chain.”
Isabel García Tejerina, general secretary of Agriculture and Food in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA), said the profile would be “a useful and valuable tool for food companies and citizens alike” and was motivated by the department’s desire “to be transparent in our actions and open to public participation…including via new communication technology.”