Following predictions of record harvest losses in Italy and Spain, France Olive has warned that this year’s extreme weather events are likely to result in 50 percent losses for the olive harvest in France as well.
According to data from the International Olive Council, France produced 4,600 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year, which was also marked by several climatic challenges.See Also:2022 Olive Harvest
France Olive said 2022 has been marked by record heat and drought in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, which accounts for more than 60 percent of French olive oil production.
The organization added that this summer’s heatwaves “follow one another and have had frequent adverse effects on production.”
Although the olive tree is particularly resistant to heat and drought, water plays a crucial role in certain stages of the plant’s life cycle. The tree is forced to sacrifice elements of its normal biological processes to survive a drought, thereby saving available resources.
“[France has] had exceptionally hot years before, but this is different,” said Laurent Bélorgey, a producer and the president of France Olive. “The drought occurred at the time of flowering… only 20 percent of our crops in France are irrigated. This is the first time we’ve seen [drought] happen on this scale.”
France had the driest July ever recorded, and the summer has already seen three heatwaves. Additionally, the sweltering and dry summer has been made worse by a lack of snow that fell in the Alps during the winter, as meltwater forms a significant part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’s water supply.
According to the European Commission, about half of the European Union is currently facing a drought risk due to the prolonged absence of rainfall, raising fears of significant harvest losses across multiple sectors, with traditional rain-fed olive groves, particularly at risk.