`Drought, Heat Cut Almería Olive Harvest by Half - Olive Oil Times

Drought, Heat Cut Almería Olive Harvest by Half

By Paolo DeAndreis
Nov. 17, 2022 13:27 UTC

The pro­longed drought and the sum­mer heat waves have taken a toll on olive pro­duc­tion in the Andalusian province of Almería.

Growers and pro­duc­ers in the province esti­mate that they will har­vest half the amount of olives as last year. The Andalusian regional gov­ern­ment antic­i­pates Almería to pro­duce 10,000 tons of olive oil this year, 31 per­cent below the five-year rolling aver­age.

However, the local chap­ter of the Association of Young Farmers and Ranchers (Asaja) said the pro­duc­tion decreases would not be uni­form across the province after it sur­veyed the most sig­nif­i­cant olive farm­ing areas.

See Also:Harvest Outlook Worsens in Spain

More specif­i­cally, Asaja Almería said the har­vest at Campo de Tabernas would expe­ri­ence a 30 per­cent drop in its olive har­vest com­pared to last sea­son.

Meanwhile, olive har­vest­ing oper­a­tions in the Andarax river val­ley project a poten­tial 70 per­cent drop and irri­gated olive groves in Almanzora will see an 80 per­cent decrease.

This is a fore­cast for those regions where [olive] col­lec­tion has already begun since there are still areas where the most activ­ity will occur dur­ing December and January, although dif­fer­ences accord­ing to areas and the cul­ti­va­tion sys­tem (rain­fed and irri­gated) are evi­dent,” Asaja Almería said.

While the chal­leng­ing weather has affected most groves, Asaja Almería said the rea­sons behind such low vol­umes vary from one olive grow­ing area to the next.

For exam­ple, water stress from Spain’s his­toric drought has affected yields in irri­gated groves. Still, in some areas, such as the Adnarax river val­ley, rain­fed and irri­gated groves received enough water.


Dessert of Tabernas

Instead, Asaja Almería indi­cated that the pro­duc­tion decreases there are the result of other cli­matic phe­nom­ena.

Despite the sig­nif­i­cant decrease expected by pro­duc­ers across the province, Asaja Almería said the cur­rent har­vest would not be the worst one expe­ri­enced by the province since timely spring rain had helped many olive crops.

However, Adoración Blanque, the pres­i­dent of Asaja Almería, said grow­ers should not delay their har­vests, or they would risk los­ing qual­ity.

It should be noted that, although the olive grove has main­tained the humid­ity fairly well, the extreme drought in recent months has caused the olive to ripen, so Asaja is warn­ing that delay­ing the har­vest too much could ruin the cam­paign,” he said. It might not be safe to wait until January to pro­duce extra vir­gin olive oil.”

While olive and olive oil pro­duc­tion in Almería is rel­a­tively small com­pared to other Andalusian provinces, it still plays a vital role in the local econ­omy.

In the first six months of 2022, olive oil sales and exports from the province more than dou­bled com­pared to the same period in 2021. Almería sold and exported €4.8 mil­lion of olive oil, a 125 per­cent increase com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

In the same period, the whole of Andalusia has expe­ri­enced a 31 per­cent growth in sales value, reach­ing €18.2 bil­lion.

Asaja Almería con­cluded its analy­sis with a note of opti­mism: rain in the com­ing months would vastly improve the end of the olive har­vest in December and January.


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