` Jaén Hoping for Rain as Olive Harvest Looms - Olive Oil Times

Jaén Hoping for Rain as Olive Harvest Looms

Oct. 11, 2011
Julie Butler

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It’s autumn in Jaén, the cen­ter of world olive oil pro­duc­tion, but unre­lent­ing heat and four months with­out rain has fueled talk of a 30 per­cent fall in its olive har­vest this year.

According to Ideal.es, the usual start of pick­ing is immi­nent but the state of olives in rain-fed plan­ta­tions – which form 60 per­cent of the sec­tor – is wor­ry­ing.

It’s a period in which the crops need mois­ture, which is no prob­lem for the approx­i­mately 250,000 hectares with irri­ga­tion (be it legal or ille­gal), but another 306,000 hectares in Jaén rely on rain.

Biologist Emilio Torres says the appear­ance of the olives is the best evi­dence of what is hap­pen­ing. The tem­per­a­tures are very high for this time of year and there’s no water, the two fac­tors that most influ­ence lipo­ge­n­e­sis, the phase in which the olive pro­duces oil, so it’s not occur­ring in the opti­mum way.”

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The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion was also pos­ing prob­lems for pro­duc­ers of gourmet” oils. They nor­mally started to har­vest in the sec­ond half of October but in areas such as Martos they were hav­ing trou­ble locat­ing plan­ta­tions with suit­able olives, he said.

The EFE news agency reported that agri­cul­tural orga­ni­za­tion COAG said Córdoba and Sevilla also needed rain. If it did­n’t fall in the next ten days regional pro­duc­tion could be down 25 per­cent over­all, as much as 30 per­cent in Jaén and it was already about 20 per­cent lower in Córdoba, the trade group said.

And things are worse in Catalonia, accord­ing to the Unió de Pagesos, a farm­ers’ union. Drought was severely affect­ing many shires and had already caused the loss of half of the expected olive har­vest, a cost of 18 mil­lion euros ($24 mil­lion). The har­vest of the olive vari­eties Farga and Sevillenca had pretty much been com­pletely writ­ten off, alone amount­ing to a loss of 5 mil­lion euros ($6.8 mil­lion), reported Agrodigital.

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