Spanish Olive Oil Production Continues to Beat Expectations

While this year’s yield remains significantly below the five-year average, it exceeded initial expectations by 11 percent and surpassed last year’s historically poor harvest by 28 percent.
By Daniel Dawson
May. 28, 2024 11:40 UTC

As the last of the season’s olive oil decants in mills across the coun­try, Spanish offi­cials said pro­duc­tion reached 850,157 tons in the 2023/24 crop year.

While this year’s olive oil yield remains sig­nif­i­cantly below the five-year aver­age, it exceeded ini­tial expec­ta­tions by 11 per­cent and sur­passed last year’s his­tor­i­cally poor har­vest by 28 per­cent.

According to Juan Vilar, a strate­gic con­sul­tant for the olive oil sec­tor, sev­eral fac­tors explain why the har­vest was bet­ter than antic­i­pated.

See Also:Spanish Producers Celebrate Award-Winning Finish After Demanding Harvest

One was the price of olive oil,” he told Olive Oil Times. This meant that no one aban­doned olives in the olive groves; every­thing was har­vested. There was also more fruit than expected, but with less oil than was ini­tially antic­i­pated.”

Vilar added that high olive oil prices also led many table olive pro­duc­ers to divert their har­vest for olive oil pro­duc­tion, fur­ther con­tribut­ing to the higher-than-expected yield.

Andalusia led the way, with pro­duc­tion in the south­ern­most autonomous com­mu­nity rebound­ing to 576,615 tons, includ­ing har­vests of 205,572 and 151,294 tons in Jaén and Córdoba, respec­tively.

This was fol­lowed by Castille-La Mancha, which pro­duced 108,636 tons; Extremadura, where the yield reached 68,731 tons; and Catalonia, with 32,467 tons. Spain’s remain­ing ten olive oil-pro­duc­ing autonomous com­mu­ni­ties com­bined to yield 63,708 tons.

With the table olive har­vest enter­ing its eighth month in Spain, the min­istry said pro­duc­tion reached 408,000 tons.

Similarly to olive oil, the final table olive yield exceeded the ini­tial esti­mate of 387,800 tons. Still, it will fin­ish below the 414,200 tons of the pre­vi­ous year and 22 per­cent below the five-year aver­age.

Looking ahead to the 2024/25 crop year, which begins in October, Vilar and min­istry offi­cials are opti­mistic that Spanish olive oil pro­duc­tion will return to nor­mal.

Spain pro­duced an aver­age of 1.4 mil­lion tons annu­ally in the five years before the his­tor­i­cally low har­vest of 2022/23.

There have been no prob­lems [in Andalusian olive groves],” Vilar said. Everything is going rea­son­ably well.”

He added that south­ern Spain had received enough rain­fall to meet the water needs of the region’s irri­gated olive groves through­out the sum­mer.

During its announce­ment of the lat­est pro­duc­tion fig­ures, the min­istry con­firmed Vilar’s stance and asserted that a bet­ter har­vest would result in lower olive oil prices at ori­gin.

Regarding the fore­cast for the next har­vest, esti­mates point to a recov­ery in pro­duc­tion thanks to the rain­fall and good weather con­di­tions in recent weeks,” Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said.

As a con­se­quence, prices are expected to be below the high lev­els recorded in the cur­rent cam­paign,” the min­istry added.


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