All of Europe’s main producing countries, with the exception of Greece, are expecting significant production drops.
Olive oil production in the European Union is expected to fall to 1.7 million tons in the 2022/23 crop year, according to estimates published in the short-term agricultural outlook report.
This year’s olive oil yield represents a 25 percent drop compared to last year and is 20 percent below the rolling five-year average.
In Spain and Italy, production is expected to fall by 30 percent. In Portugal, officials noted that the irrigated super-high-density olive groves of Alentejo were less affected by the Iberian Peninsula’s ongoing drought. Nevertheless, production in the country is expected to fall 40 percent compared to last year.
According to the E.U. projections, olive oil volumes will fall in all producing countries, with the notable exception of Greece.
Away from Greece, southern and western Europe faced one of the hottest summers on record, accompanied by heatwaves and arid weather, which stunted the development of the olive trees at critical moments.
The combined drought indicator of the E.U. Joint Research Center reported that 33 percent of Europe faced a soil moisture deficit in September. Meanwhile, 26 percent of the continent is in a state of alert due to crops and vegetation showing severe signs of stress.
The center emphasized how the extraordinary summer conditions pushed many national and regional authorities to restrict water use for irrigation. “In some regions, very low reservoirs levels made field irrigation impossible,”
Along with olive development, these severe conditions also impacted staple summer crops, such as grain maize, soybeans and sunflowers.
The main olive oil-producing countries in the European Union are also some of the continent’s largest olive oil consumers. According to the report, lower levels of olive oil production will likely be supplemented by increased imports.
Additionally, lower production is among the factors fueling rising olive oil prices and may result in a decrease in demand in some price-sensitive foreign markets. E.U. officials said exports could fall by 10 percent.