EU announces olive oil production estimates

The European Union (EU) has released its monthly olive oil production estimates and total quantities produced to date for the current crop year, Olive Oil Times reported on 1 May.

Spain again topped the list of EU olive oil producers, having produced a total of 1.11M tonnes in 2019/20 by the end of March.

The overall yield of the season was expected to reach 1.12M tonnes, significantly lower than expectations, compared with an all-time high of 1.77M tonnes of olive oil in the previous crop year.

Italy more than doubled its output this season, reaching an estimated aggregate quantity of 361,145 tonnes in March. The overall yield was expected to reach a total of 364,000 tonnes compared with only 175,000 tonnes delivered in the 2018/19 season.

In Greece, 262,570 tonnes of olive oil had been produced by the end of March with an expected overall total of 265,000 tonnes, a quantity lower than the forecast of 280,000-300,000 tonnes, but substantially improved compared with the previous season when only 185,000 tonnes of olive oil had been delivered, Olive Oil Times said.

Portugal ranked fourth among the EU’s member states with an estimated near-record production of 130,000 tonnes compared to 100,000 tonnes in the 2018/19 season.

The smaller producers Cyprus and France had reached a total of 6,991 tonnes and 5,900 tonnes of olive oil respectively in the current crop year.

In terms of olive oil consumption, Spain was expected to use 550,000 tonnes for domestic purposes, while Italy’s estimated consumption was 510,000 tonnes of olive oil. Greece and Portugal were likely to consume 125,000 and 80,000 tonnes during the current season.

The EU also reported on the final stock estimates after milling operations were completed for the current crop year, with Spain’s stock reaching 600,700 tonnes and olive oil reserves of Italy and Greece reaching 50,000 and 62,700 tonnes respectively.

By February, another 213,500 tonnes of olive oil had been withdrawn from the European market to be stored for a maximum period of six months under the private storage aid scheme applied by the European Commission to help rebalance prices.

The European farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca had also warned that the reduction of exports due to COVID-19 transport restrictions could result in higher quantities of products like wine and olive oil lying idle ahead of the next marketing season.