The European Union released its monthly olive oil production estimates and total quantities produced so far, with Spain in the lead but falling behind last year’s record harvest and substantial outputs delivered by Italy, Greece and Portugal.
Spain again tops the list of EU olive oil producers, having produced a total of 1,116,171 tons by the end of March. The overall yield of the season is expected to reach 1,120,000 tons, significantly reduced as predicted compared with the all-time high yield of 1.77 million tons of olive oil in the previous crop year.
Italy has more than doubled its output this season, reaching an estimated aggregate quantity of 361,145 tons in March. The overall yield is expected to reach a total of 364,000 tons compared with only 175,000 tons delivered in the 2018/19 season.
In Greece, 262,570 tons of olive oil had been produced by the end of March with an expected overall total of 265,000 tons, a quantity somewhat lower than the initial expectations of 280,000 to 300,000 tons, but substantially improved compared with the dismal past season when only 185,000 tons of olive oil were delivered.
Portugal ranks fourth among the EU’s member states with an estimated near-record production of 130,000 tons compared to 100,000 tons in the campaign of 2018/19. The smaller producers Cyprus and France reached a total of 6,991 tons and 5,900 tons of olive oil respectively in the current crop year.
In terms of olive oil consumption, Spain is expected to use 550,000 tons for domestic purposes, whereas 510,000 tons of olive oil are estimated to be consumed in Italy. Greece and Portugal will likely consume 125,000 tons and 80,000 tons during the current season.
The EU also reported on the final stock estimates after milling operations are completed for the current crop year, with the stock of Spain reaching 600,700 tons and olive oil reserves of Italy and Greece reaching 50,000 and 62,700 tons respectively.
By February, another 213,500 tons of olive oil had been withdrawn from the European market to be stored for a maximum period of six months under the private storage aid scheme applied by the European Commission to help rebalance prices.
On top of that, the European farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca has warned that the deceleration of exports due to the coronavirus transport restrictions could render more quantities of products like wine and olive oil idle ahead of the next marketing season.