`Olive Oil Consumption Set to Outpace Production For a Change - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Consumption Set to Outpace Production For a Change

By Paolo DeAndreis
Oct. 27, 2020 11:11 UTC

Worldwide olive oil pro­duc­tion will be some­what lower than con­sump­tion in the 2020 sea­son.

With cur­rent esti­mates sug­gest­ing pro­duc­tion of around 3.11 mil­lion tons of olive oil and 3.14 mil­lion tons expected to be con­sumed, there could finally be some good news for pro­duc­ers, accord­ing to the inter­na­tional con­sul­tant Juan Vilar.

It is a ball of oxy­gen for the tra­di­tional olive grove, which accounts for 70 per­cent of the har­vest and that, with­out a doubt, has lived through some dif­fi­cult times.- Juan Vilar, International con­sul­tant

We expect that dur­ing this cam­paign, con­sump­tion will be higher than pro­duc­tion,” Vilar said at a recent Andalusian webi­nar about olive pro­duc­tion, accord­ing to the Spanish news agency COPE.

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In addi­tion, price increases have been seen in all cat­e­gories and this shows that although a change in strat­egy is nec­es­sary, it is a ball of oxy­gen for the tra­di­tional olive grove, which accounts for 70 per­cent of the har­vest and that, with­out a doubt, has lived through some dif­fi­cult times.”

There is also a grow­ing role around the world for the mod­ern olive grove,” said Vilar, which now accounts for 40 per­cent of all olive oil pro­duced” — num­bers that reveal a trend­ing change and a real­ity which is con­stantly grow­ing.”

Vilar also noted how the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of olive farm­ing in five con­ti­nents brought to a total of 11.5 mil­lion hectares ded­i­cated to olive trees.” Those num­bers pushed world­wide pro­duc­tion to exceed 3 mil­lion tons feed­ing house­holds in more than 180 coun­tries.”

The world­wide pro­duc­tion for the cur­rent sea­son will be 3.4 per­cent lower than last year, a drop mostly due to the reduced yield in sev­eral Mediterranean coun­tries includ­ing Italy (270,000 tons), Greece (240,000), Morocco (140,000), Tunisia (130,000) and Portugal (120,000).

The only excep­tion to the down­ward trend is Spain, where pro­duc­tion is set to reach 1.6 to 1.7 mil­lion tons, as reported by the local mag­a­zine Agrònoma.

According to Vilar, the decline in pro­duc­tion in some Mediterranean coun­tries is due to the typ­i­cal alter­nat­ing sea­sons.

Most olive orchards in these coun­tries are tra­di­tional groves, as it hap­pens in Italy, Greece or Tunisia,” said Vilar, coun­tries that last year recorded a quite rel­e­vant yield. It hap­pened in Tunisia, which wit­nessed a falling prices trend in the pre­vi­ous sea­son, as well as in Portugal, whose yield reached a peak of 150 thou­sand tons.”

Spain has been able to strengthen its posi­tion as the main pro­ducer, which Vilar mostly attrib­uted to strong invest­ments in mod­ern farm­ing and spe­cific new tech­nolo­gies.

Spain,” noted Vilar, has been able to ade­quately com­bine its tra­di­tional knowl­edge of the crop with new tech­nolo­gies, becom­ing the world’s largest pro­ducer of olive oils, since more than half — 52 per­cent — of the oils pro­duced in the five con­ti­nents will be of Spanish ori­gin.”

The con­sul­tant also under­lined how olive oil prices, which in recent years have been steadily declin­ing, seem now close to a trend change.

A short­age of extra vir­gin olive oil has brought an increase in prices, with new con­tracts clos­ing over €3 ($3.54) per kilo­gram.

These days we are see­ing prices for EVOO in Portugal reach­ing €3.20 per kilo­gram because there the first EVOOs of the sea­son are pro­duced,” Vilar noted, while in the com­ing weeks’ prices will grad­u­ally slow, posi­tion­ing prices for the Spanish sea­son around €2.40 or €2.50. Even if we can expect a small drop after­ward, prices should stay at €2.25 or €2.35 until the end of January.”

It would be a relief for pro­duc­ers, given that prices in Jaén, the main Andalusian mar­ket, dropped in September to €2 per kilo­gram, accord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures from the International Olive Council (IOC).


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