The deputy director of the International Olive Council (IOC), Ammir Assabah (center), spoke Tuesday at the opening of an olive oil tasting course at the University of Jaén with Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation Maria Victoria Lopez Ramon (right)

Spain’s olive oil producers need to adapt production to reflect the reality of worldwide demand – or face further losses, warns International Olive Oil Council deputy director Ammir Assabah.

“The situation is not easy, unfortunately not just for Spain but for many other countries too,” Assabah told reporters. “Many countries have stocks and find themselves in a difficult situation. The important thing is to create value-added, particularly to improve product quality, to gain market positioning and to make adjustments so that supply matches demand. These are measures countries can take in the light of the data released by the IOC.”

Assabah was speaking in Jaén on Tuesday at the opening of a certification course for EVOO tasters. Appointed deputy director in March, Assabah has a degree in agronomy and a PhD in Rural Economics from the University of Montpellier in France, and is of Algerian nationality.

According to forecasts in the IOC’s August newsletter, global olive oil production is set to increase again for the 2011/12 crop year. Spain expects to produce 1.4 million tons, up 2 percent on last season, followed by Greece with 310,000 tons, up three percent.

Meanwhile, extra virgin olive oil prices have fallen 4 percent in Spain (€1.89/kg), held steady in Greece (€2.04/kg) and climbed 35 percent in Italy (€3.57/kg), compared to the same period a year ago.

Amid a prolonged pricing crisis, Spain is awaiting an answer from the European Commission on its call for the introduction of private storage aid and is also anxious about the outcome of the current renegotiation of E.U. Agricultural subsidies.

Olive oil consumption is falling in Spain as households tighten their belts amid the financial crisis.

Listen to an excerpt of the interview with Deputy Director Assabah (in French and Spanish): [audio: /wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Curso-experto-cata-aceite-director-COI.mp3]

More articles on: , , ,