Global Olive Oil Production Dips to Four-Year Low

Tunisia, Italy, Portugal and Algeria experienced the largest production decreases. Lower yields throughout much of the world were partially offset by a bumper harvest in Spain and a good year in Morocco.
Andalusia. Spain
Dec. 18, 2020
Daniel Dawson

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Global olive oil pro­duc­tion is pre­dicted to reach 3,179,000 tons in the cur­rent crop year, the low­est total since 2016/17, accord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary data from the International Olive Council (IOC). Last year, the world pro­duced 3,207,000 tons.

The largest pro­duc­tion decrease took place in Tunisia, which is expect­ing out­put to drop by 66 per­cent this year, with the yield falling to 120,000 tons.

See Also: 2020 Harvest Updates

A com­bi­na­tion of many pro­duc­ers enter­ing an off-year, lack of rain­fall at key moments in olive devel­op­ment and poor agro­nomic prac­tices all con­tributed to the pro­duc­tion drop.

Italy expe­ri­enced a steep decline, with pro­duc­tion falling by 30-per­cent this year.

Bad weather in the spring, many pro­duc­ers in the south of the coun­try enter­ing an off-year and ris­ing rates of Xylella fas­tidiosa in Puglia led to the sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion decline.

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Algeria and Portugal were also among the coun­tries with the largest drops in pro­duc­tion with 29 per­cent declines. Algeria is expected to pro­duce 89,500 tons and Portugal will pro­duce about 100,000 tons.

Even with the drops in both Italy and Portugal, as well as more mod­est decreases in Greece, Cyprus and France, olive oil pro­duc­tion in the European Union grew by 16-per­cent. The eight coun­tries respon­si­ble for vir­tu­ally all of the bloc’s olive oil pro­duced 2,232,800 tons — seven-per­cent more than the rolling-five-year average.

See Also: Industry Data Dashboard

Most of the increase came as the result of a bumper har­vest in Spain, which the IOC esti­mates will pro­duce 1,596,100 tons, the country’s fourth-largest yield on record.

However, pro­duc­ers from the olive oil-soaked south of the coun­try said the strong har­vest came despite a year of drought and chal­lenges brought by the COVID-19 pan­demic.

Very small pro­duc­tion increases were recorded in Croatia and Slovenia.

Outside of the European Union, the only other major pro­duc­tion increase was in Morocco. The North African coun­try is pre­dicted to pro­duce 160,000 tons of olive oil this year and attrib­uted its sec­ond-high­est yield on record to recent invest­ments in plant­ing new olive groves.

Other notable decreases were recorded in Palestine, which saw pro­duc­tion drop by nearly 70 per­cent. The Palestinian olive oil crop fell from a record-high 39,500 tons in 2019/20 to 12,000 tons this year, the low­est total in more than a decade.

Neighboring Jordan also expe­ri­enced a drop in pro­duc­tion, with its own yield falling to 25,000 tons after reach­ing a record-high 34,500 tons the year before.

Israel saw its pro­duc­tion drop too, with this year’s yield falling by 42 per­cent to reach 11,000 tons, the low­est level in a decade.

Turkey expe­ri­enced a slight pro­duc­tion dip as well, with the yield slip­ping by seven per­cent as many pro­duc­ers entered an off-year and bad weather hit the olive oil-rich west of the country.

Despite this year’s decline, global olive oil pro­duc­tion con­tin­ues to trend upward. 





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