Global Olive Oil Production Set for Second Straight Year of Decline

The world’s seven largest olive oil-producing countries are expected to yield 1.97 million tons in the 2023/24 crop year, 23 percent below the average of the previous four campaigns.

Harvest in Jaén, Spain
By Daniel Dawson and Paolo DeAndreis
Oct. 31, 2023 17:35 UTC
Harvest in Jaén, Spain

The start of the har­vest is under­way across the Mediterranean basin, and pre­lim­i­nary pro­duc­tion esti­mates are already being tal­lied.

According to inter­views with farm­ers, millers, and local offi­cials, the world’s seven largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries are fore­casted to yield 1.97 mil­lion tons in the 2023/24 crop year, a seven per­cent decrease com­pared to last year and 23 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years.

See Also:2023 Harvest Updates

Combined, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and Portugal were respon­si­ble for 72 per­cent of global olive oil pro­duc­tion last year. Over the past four crop years, that fig­ure sits at 82 per­cent.

As a result, global olive oil pro­duc­tion in the 2023/24 crop year will likely end up below the 2.94 mil­lion tons pro­duced in 2022/23, the low­est yield since 2016/17.

According to Juan Vilar, a Spain-based strate­gic con­sul­tant for the olive oil sec­tor, global pro­duc­tion may fall to 2.4 mil­lion tons, an 18 per­cent decrease com­pared to 2022/23 and 24 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years.

Sources: Olive Oil Times, International Olive Council

While pro­duc­ers in Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco and Portugal antic­i­pate supe­rior har­vests this year, the pro­duc­tion increases are expected to be more mod­est than the sig­nif­i­cant declines pre­dicted in Turkey and Greece. 

Below is a sum­mary of what pro­duc­ers and offi­cials expect this crop year in the seven main pro­ducer coun­tries. 


After last year’s his­tor­i­cally poor har­vest, Spanish offi­cials are opti­mistic that the 2023/24 crop year will improve. Production is expected to climb from 664,033 tons to 765,362 tons.

Despite the 15 per­cent increase com­pared to last year, pro­duc­tion is still expected to remain 34 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years. As a result, olive oil prices are expected to con­tinue ris­ing through May. 

Some rain in the sum­mer and autumn meant the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­try received some respite from its his­toric drought

However, scorch­ing spring­time tem­per­a­tures dam­aged some trees as they blos­somed, result­ing in a lower fruit set in Andalusia, the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region.

Overall, pro­duc­tion in Andalusia is expected to rise 7 per­cent com­pared to last year, reach­ing 550,600 tons. However, this remains 40 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four sea­sons.

Producers in the cen­ter of the coun­try also reported dam­age from frosts in the early spring, which also low­ered the poten­tial fruit set. Nevertheless, farm­ers and millers in Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, the Community of Valencia, Catalonia and Aragón also expect supe­rior har­vests this year.


Farmers and offi­cials in Italy expect pro­duc­tion to exceed 290,000 tons in 2023/24, with some large pro­duc­ers pre­dict­ing more than 300,000 tons.

If the low end of this esti­mate comes to fruition, it would rep­re­sent a 23 per­cent increase com­pared to last year’s yield but remain 4 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four har­vests.


Rising pro­duc­tion is pri­mar­ily due to the promis­ing con­di­tions in the coun­try’s south, includ­ing the regions of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, which are respon­si­ble for about 70 per­cent of Italy’s pro­duc­tion.

In other highly sig­nif­i­cant regions for olive oil pro­duc­tion, such as Tuscany, the har­vest looks very chal­leng­ing, with some notable excep­tions.

The olive grow­ing sea­son was good, and the qual­ity seems good. We also expect a higher yield com­pared to other farms in the area,” Luca Perotti, gen­eral direc­tor of the cen­tral Tuscan pro­ducer, Azienda Pometti, told Olive Oil Times.

These [pos­i­tive] esti­mates are mainly due to the atten­tion we place into regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­tural prac­tices, sup­ported by tech­nol­ogy and a sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence on the field,” Perotti explained.


With a yield of 220,000 tons of olive oil expected in the 2023/24 crop year, Tunisian pro­duc­ers antic­i­pate a sig­nif­i­cant rebound from the pre­vi­ous season’s 180,000 tons.

This time, it rained at cru­cial times, which helped improve the sit­u­a­tion,” Hédi Belkhodja, gen­eral man­ager of pro­ducer and exporter Bulla Regia, told Olive Oil Times.


El-Battan, Tunisia (AP)

On the pos­si­bil­ity of fur­ther rain­fall in the cru­cial weeks before har­vest, Belkhodja noted that in the right con­di­tions, it is pos­si­ble that over­all turnout could reach the 250,000 tons pre­dicted by the United States Department of Agriculture. In nor­mal con­di­tions, it should be closer to 200,000 or 220,000 tons.”

Officials in sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant olive oil-pro­duc­ing regions, includ­ing Sfax and Gafsa, expect yields to rebound this year due to increased invest­ment in the sec­tor and bet­ter cli­matic con­di­tions.

This year, the har­vest cam­paign was sched­uled for a pre­ma­ture date due to the dif­fi­cult cli­matic con­di­tions expe­ri­enced by Tunisia due to rain reten­tion and high tem­per­a­tures,” Taher Mbarki, regional com­mis­sar for agri­cul­ture and hydraulic resources, told local media.


After last year’s bumper yield of 330,000 tons, olive oil pro­duc­tion in Greece is expected to decline sig­nif­i­cantly, with pre­lim­i­nary esti­mates of 200,000 tons.

Based on this fore­cast, Greek olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to fall nearly 40 per­cent com­pared to last year and would be 28 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years.


Kalo Pedi, Greece (AP)

Producers and offi­cials in the coun­try attrib­uted the pro­duc­tion decline to many groves enter­ing an off-year’ in the nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle of the olive tree com­bined with the extreme weather events in some parts of the coun­try and the emer­gence of the olive fruit fly in oth­ers. 

On Crete, respon­si­ble for roughly one-third of national pro­duc­tion, offi­cials antic­i­pate one of the island’s worst har­vests on record. A warm and wet sum­mer cre­ated ideal con­di­tions for the olive fruit fly to thrive, which caused unprece­dented dam­age to groves across the island. 

Meanwhile, other Greek islands and the north­ern regions of the penin­sula expe­ri­enced a very warm win­ter, which resulted in many trees receiv­ing fewer chill hours than nec­es­sary to bear fruit the fol­low­ing spring.


After a record-high yield of 421,000 tons last year, which made Turkey the world’s sec­ond-largest pro­ducer, this year’s har­vest is expected to decline sig­nif­i­cantly.

Mustafa Tan, pres­i­dent of the National Olive and Olive Oil Council, told Olive Oil Times that pro­duc­tion is expected to reach just 180,000 tons in the 2023/24 crop year, a 57 per­cent decrease com­pared to last year and 33 per­cent below the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years. 

A com­bi­na­tion of many pro­duc­ers in the coun­try enter­ing an off-year’ in the nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle of the olive tree and extreme weather events in some parts of the coun­try were attrib­uted to the pro­duc­tion decrease.

Producers across west­ern and south­west­ern Turkey said cold and rainy weather in the spring washed away pollen and dam­aged the blos­soms of many trees, result­ing in a lower fruit set. Additionally, hail in some parts of the coun­try dam­aged trees dur­ing the blos­som­ing period.

In east­ern Turkey, last February’s deadly earth­quake dam­aged olive trees and mills sig­nif­i­cantly, result­ing in lower pro­duc­tion.


Officials and pro­duc­ers in Morocco expect olive oil pro­duc­tion to increase by 10 per­cent com­pared to the 2022/23 har­vest, reach­ing an esti­mated total of 171,600 tons. 

If pro­duc­tion fore­casts come to fruition, this year’s har­vest would exceed the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four crop years by 4 per­cent, mak­ing Morocco one of the few coun­tries among the seven lead­ing pro­duc­ers to expe­ri­ence an above-aver­age yield.


(Photo: CHO Group)

Rising olive oil pro­duc­tion comes despite the country’s agri­cul­ture min­istry pre­dict­ing olive pro­duc­tion to reach a sim­i­lar level this year com­pared to the pre­vi­ous one. 

This can be attrib­uted to a reduced pro­duc­tion of table olives this year,” Adil Bajoub Adil, an agro­nomic engi­neer and coor­di­na­tor of Morocco’s first olive oil-spe­cific Master’s degree, told Olive Oil Times.

The major­ity of pro­duc­ers are plan­ning to process their olives due to the accel­er­ated mat­u­ra­tion process caused by the heat­wave in August and September,” he added. Additionally, the price of olive oil is very high this year, which is encour­ag­ing most pro­duc­ers to allo­cate their entire pro­duc­tion exclu­sively for olive oil.” 

According to some offi­cials, olive oil pro­duc­tion could have been even higher if not for the impacts of drought, extreme weather con­di­tions and September’s earth­quake dam­ag­ing trees in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.


Officials and pro­duc­ers in Portugal esti­mate that pro­duc­tion will con­tinue its upward trend in the Iberian coun­try, reach­ing about 145,000 tons. 

If the fore­cast is borne out, pro­duc­tion in Portugal would exceed last year’s total of 125,000 tons by 16 per­cent and the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous four years by slightly more than 1 per­cent.

Producers attrib­uted the pro­duc­tion increase to many groves in the coun­try enter­ing an on-year’ in the nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle of the olive tree, along with a wet win­ter and spring replen­ish­ing reser­voirs and aquifers.

However, not every part of the coun­try is expected to expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits uni­formly. The rise in pro­duc­tion is pri­mar­ily dri­ven by the super-high-den­sity groves of Alentejo, the hec­tarage of which increases yearly.

Meanwhile, pro­duc­tion in the tra­di­tional olive groves in the north of the coun­try expe­ri­enced a pro­duc­tion decline com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

Costas Vasilopoulos con­tributed to this report.

Share this article


Related Articles