`Olive Council Forecasts Significant Production Decline - Olive Oil Times
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Olive Council Forecasts Significant Production Decline

By Daniel Dawson
Dec. 30, 2022 11:31 UTC

The International Olive Council (IOC) esti­mates global olive oil pro­duc­tion will hit a six-year low in the 2022/23 crop year, with out­put expected to reach 2.73 mil­lion tons.

Recently-pub­lished IOC data indi­cate that the world will pro­duce 18 per­cent less olive oil this year than in the 2021/22 crop year total of 3.40 mil­lion tons. Furthermore, yields are 12 per­cent below the rolling five-year aver­age of 3.14 mil­lion tons.

Precipitous drops in Western Europe and North Africa have fueled the sig­nif­i­cant decline.

See Also:2022 Harvest Updates

The eight main pro­duc­ing coun­tries of the European Union com­bined to pro­duce 1.50 mil­lion tons of olive oil, well below the 2.27 mil­lion tons of last year and 2.17 mil­lion ton aver­age of the past half-decade.

Spain expe­ri­enced the most sig­nif­i­cant decrease, with pro­duc­tion falling to 780,000 tons, the low­est since the 2012/13 crop year.

Producers largely blamed high tem­per­a­tures that dam­aged trees at the blos­som­ing time and the effects of the unprece­dented drought that stretched across Europe and North Africa.

While olives are noto­ri­ously drought resis­tant, many trees across the region did not receive the min­i­mum amounts of water at crit­i­cal moments in devel­op­ment, result­ing in the trees drop­ping their fruit to pre­serve them­selves.

Country2022/23 (t)2021/22 (t)5‑Yr. Avg. (t)
Spain780,0001,491,5001,411,600
Greece350,000232,000262,600
Italy235,000329,000247,300
Portugal125,000206,200136,400
Cyprus6,1004,0004,800
Croatia4,4002,9003,600
France3,6005,8005,100
Slovenia700300600
European Union1,504,8002,271,7002,139,000
E.U. Olive Oil Production for 2022/23 Crop Year. Source: IOC

In Italy, tra­di­tion­ally the world’s sec­ond-largest pro­ducer, yields are expected to fall to 235,000 tons, the low­est since 2018/19.

Again, farm­ers blamed the drought and many olive trees enter­ing an off-year’ in their nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle.

Producers in Portugal and France also expe­ri­enced pro­duc­tion declines. In Portugal, yields fell from the pre­vi­ous year’s record high to 125,000 tons. Though much smaller in scale, France also saw pro­duc­tion slip sig­nif­i­cantly to 3,600 tons. The drought was a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor once again.

However, not every coun­try in Europe saw pro­duc­tion slip. Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia all expe­ri­enced mod­est pro­duc­tion increases, though com­bined to pro­duce just 11,200 tons of olive oil.

Outside of the E.U., Albania expe­ri­enced a record-break­ing har­vest of 15,500 tons, while pro­duc­tion in Montenegro remained steady.

On the east­ern bor­der of the E.U., pro­duc­ers in Greece cel­e­brated the most fruit­ful har­vest since 2006/07.

Producers expect to yield 350,000 tons of olive oil, sig­nif­i­cantly above the rolling five-year aver­age of 262,000 tons.

Unlike its peers, pro­duc­ers in Greece enjoyed mild weather and appro­pri­ate rain­fall. However, some faced issues with the olive fruit fly at the end of the sea­son.

Plentiful rain­fall at the right moments and mild sum­mer tem­per­a­tures also played a role in a series of record har­vests and sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion increases across the Middle East.

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Turkey became the world’s sec­ond-largest olive oil pro­ducer after a record-smash­ing har­vest of 380,000 tons. While slightly less than the 400,000 tons ini­tially esti­mated, offi­cials remain opti­mistic that pro­duc­tion will con­tinue to rise as trees planted more than a decade ago enter matu­rity.

Shortly, pro­duc­ers in Turkey expect to raise the rolling five-year aver­age of 223,000 tons closer to this year’s total.

Turkey’s south­ern neigh­bors, includ­ing Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Syria, also expe­ri­enced pro­duc­tion rebounds, with yields exceed­ing the rolling five-year aver­ages.

After last year’s record-high, pro­duc­tion fell slightly in Lebanon, equalling the rolling five-year aver­age of 17,000 tons.

Despite stark warn­ings of future water stress across the region, pro­duc­ers in the Middle East largely enjoyed mild tem­per­a­tures and enough rain, with many groves enter­ing an on-year’ in the alter­nate bear­ing cycle.

Country/State2022/23 (t)2021/22 (t)5‑Yr. Avg. (t)
Turkey380,000235,000223,000
Tunisia180,000240,000257,000
Morocco156,000200,000169,000
Algeria81,00091,00093,400
Egypt40,00020,00035,700
Jordan27,50025,50025,100
Palestine23,00017,50021,200
Israel18,00012,00014,800
Lebanon17,00021,50017,000
Albania15,50011,50011,900
Libya15,50016,50016,800
Iran12,50010,5009,100
China8,5008,0006,800
TOTAL2,729,5003,398,0003,273,900
Global Olive Oil Production for 2022/23 Crop Year. Source: IOC

Along with Libya and Egypt, where pro­duc­tion rebounded back to 40,000 tons after an abysmal har­vest due to extreme weather in 2021/22, the olive oil pro­duc­tion world’s cen­ter grav­ity shifted to the Eastern Mediterranean sig­nif­i­cantly this year. However, this is unlikely to remain the case for long.

While pro­duc­tion fell in Tunisia and Morocco, both coun­tries have invested in mod­ern­iz­ing their agri­cul­tural tech­niques and grow­ing more olive trees.

The IOC pre­dicts yields in Tunisia will slip to 180,000 tons this year, 43 per­cent below the rolling five-year aver­age, while Morocco has seen pro­duc­tion fall to 156,000 tons, an 8 per­cent decrease.

Meanwhile, pro­duc­ers in Algeria saw a more mod­er­ate decline than ini­tially expected, with pro­duc­tion falling to 81,000 tons.

Outside the Mediterranean basin, pro­duc­tion in Iran and China also sig­nif­i­cantly increased. While not yield­ing as much as ini­tially expected, Iran pro­duced a record-high 12,500 tons of olive oil. China also pro­duced a record-high 8,500 tons of olive oil.

The IOC esti­mated that the United States would pro­duce 15,000 tons of olive oil. However, pro­duc­ers in California, the state respon­si­ble for vir­tu­ally all American olive oil pro­duc­tion, told Olive Oil Times that they expected pro­duc­tion to be far lower.

Along with a dip in pro­duc­tion, the IOC also fore­casts olive oil con­sump­tion to fall in many parts of the world. As a result, the IOC esti­mates that global con­sump­tion will be about 3.06 mil­lion tons in the 2022/23 crop year, the low­est total since 2017/18.

The United States and European Union are expected to expe­ri­ence the most sig­nif­i­cant con­sump­tion decreases, with con­sump­tion pre­dicted to fall in the U.S. to 381,000 tons, its low­est level since 2018/19. Meanwhile, con­sump­tion is antic­i­pated to slump to 1.41 mil­lion tons in the E.U., its low­est total since 2016/17.

Except for Germany, which saw a notable increase, con­sump­tion either remained steady, increased slightly or fell sharply in the rest of the bloc. Producing coun­tries gen­er­ally expe­ri­enced more sig­nif­i­cant decreases.

This trend was also true among other Mediterranean and global-pro­duc­ing coun­tries that also expe­ri­enced pro­duc­tion decreases. The most notable con­sump­tion increases are expected in Egypt and Syria.

Despite a decrease in olive oil pro­duc­tion, global table olive yields rose to 3.10 mil­lion tons, exceed­ing the 3 mil­lion mark for the first time in five years. Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Peru and Syria recorded the largest increases. Conversely, sig­nif­i­cant decreases are expected in the United States and Spain.


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