`Olive Council Forecasts Significant Production Decline - Olive Oil Times

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.

Country
2022/23 (t)
2021/22 (t)
5‑Yr. Avg. (t)
Spain
780,000
1,491,500
1,411,600
Greece
350,000
232,000
262,600
Italy
235,000
329,000
247,300
Portugal
125,000
206,200
136,400
Cyprus
6,100
4,000
4,800
Croatia
4,400
2,900
3,600
France
3,600
5,800
5,100
Slovenia
700
300
600
European Union
1,504,800
2,271,700
2,139,000
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/State
2022/23 (t)
2021/22 (t)
5‑Yr. Avg. (t)
Turkey
380,000
235,000
223,000
Tunisia
180,000
240,000
257,000
Morocco
156,000
200,000
169,000
Algeria
81,000
91,000
93,400
Egypt
40,000
20,000
35,700
Jordan
27,500
25,500
25,100
Palestine
23,000
17,500
21,200
Israel
18,000
12,000
14,800
Lebanon
17,000
21,500
17,000
Albania
15,500
11,500
11,900
Libya
15,500
16,500
16,800
Iran
12,500
10,500
9,100
China
8,500
8,000
6,800
TOTAL
2,729,500
3,398,000
3,273,900
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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