09 Jan Global olive oil production continues to grow
The largest declines in production in 2020 were observed in Tunisia, Italy, Portugal and Algeria. Lower yields in many countries around the world were partially offset by a bumper crop in Spain and a good year in Morocco.
According to preliminary data from the International Olive Oil Council, global olive oil production is projected to reach 3,179,000 tonnes in the current agricultural year, the lowest since 2016/17. Last year, 3,207,000 tons were produced worldwide.
The biggest drop in production came in Tunisia, which expects production to fall by 66% this year and yields to fall to 120,000 tonnes.
Italy experienced a sharp decline, and in the past year production fell by 30% due to the weather and the still undefeated bacterium Xylella fastidiosa in Apulia.
Algeria and Portugal were also among the countries with the largest production declines of 29%. Algeria is expected to produce 89,500 tons and Portugal about 100,000 tons.
Even taking into account the downturn in Italy and Portugal, as well as a more modest decline in Greece, Cyprus and France, olive oil production in the European Union increased by 16%! The eight countries responsible for almost all of Europe’s olive oil produced 2,232,800 tons – 7% more than the five-year average.
Most of the increase came as a result of Spain’s record harvest, which the IOC estimated at 1,596,100 tonnes, the country’s fourth-largest crop on record.
Outside the European Union, the only other major increase in production occurred in Morocco. The North African country is projected to produce 160,000 tons of olive oil this year, and its second-highest yield is due to recent investment in planting new olive groves. Other notable reductions were recorded in Palestine (70%), Jordan (38%), Israel (42%), and Turkey (7%).