`France’s Harvest Yield Lower Than Expected - Olive Oil Times

France’s Harvest Yield Lower Than Expected

By Daniel Dawson
Jul. 6, 2020 10:15 UTC

The 2019 har­vest in France was worse than pre­vi­ously thought, accord­ing to a recently released report from France Olive.

The French inter­pro­fes­sional olive oil asso­ci­a­tion said that the final pro­duc­tion fig­ure will be some­where between 3,250 and 3,500 tons, sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the 5,900-ton yield that was expected at the begin­ning of the har­vest.

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After two con­sec­u­tive suc­cess­ful har­vests [of 6,100 tons in 2017 and 5,300 tons in 2018], the 2019/20 har­vest is in sharp decline,” France Olive pres­i­dent Laurent Bélorgey wrote in the intro­duc­tion of the report.

The har­vest of almost all pro­duc­tion areas is declin­ing, with the notable excep­tion of Aude [between Montpellier and the Spanish bor­der], and some have even expe­ri­enced cat­a­strophic har­vests,” he added.

The report attrib­uted the pro­duc­tion decline to poor weather con­di­tions through­out the year paired with many pro­duc­ers enter­ing an off-year.

A cold spring led to late flow­er­ing and was fol­lowed by a dry and hot sum­mer, which dam­aged some of the olive blos­soms. As the har­vest began in September, some pro­duc­ers also had their crops dam­aged by olive fly infes­ta­tions.

By the mid­dle of the autumn, heavy rains were falling through­out the south of the coun­try, forc­ing pro­duc­ers to push their har­vests back.

While this is shap­ing up to be the small­est har­vest since 2016, some in the sec­tor have said the sit­u­a­tion is not all bad. They argue that the low yields will help to deplete the country’s sub­stan­tial olive oil stocks, which are esti­mated to be about 100,000 tons.

However, the social and eco­nomic impacts of the Covid-19 pan­demic on France have led to a decrease in olive oil sales in 2020.

With sales down this year, we are unlikely to achieve this goal [of deplet­ing olive oil stocks],” Bélorgey wrote. I will never con­sider a small har­vest as a solu­tion. The prof­itabil­ity of an orchard depends on its pro­duc­tiv­ity and that of a mill on its trans­for­ma­tion activ­ity.”


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