The world’s seven largest olive oil-producing countries are expected to produce 1.97M tonnes of oil in the 2023/24 crop year, according to interviews with farmers, millers and local officials quoted in an Olive Oil Times report.
The volume would be a 7% decrease compared to last year and 23% below the average of the previous four seasons, the 31 October report said.
Last year Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and Portugal produced 72% of global olive oil volumes last year, compared with 82% in the last four crop years, Olive Oil Times wrote.
As a result, global olive oil production in the 2023/24 crop year was likely to fall below the 2.94M tonnes produced in 2022/23, which had been the lowest yield since 2016/17.
According to Juan Vilar, a Spain-based strategic consultant for the olive oil sector, global production may fall to 2.4M tonnes, an 18% drop compared to 2022/23 and 24% below the average of the previous four crop years.
While producers in Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco and Portugal expected improved harvests this year, the production increases were expected to be more modest than the significant declines forecast in Turkey and Greece, the report said.
After last year’s historically poor harvest, Spanish officials are optimistic that the 2023/24 crop year will improve with production expected to increase from 664,033 tonnes to 765,362 tonnes, according to the report.
Despite the 15% increase compared to last year, production in the world’s largest olive oil-producing country was still expected to remain 34% below the average of the previous four crop years. As a result, olive oil prices were expected to continue rising through May.
Farmers and officials in Italy expected production to exceed 290,000 tonnes in 2023/24, with some large producers forecasting more than 300,000 tonnes.
The lower estimate would represent a 23% increase compared to last year’s yield but remain 4% below the average of the previous four harvests.
With a yield of 220,000 tonnes of olive oil expected in the 2023/24 crop year, Tunisian producers expected a significant rebound from the previous season’s 180,000 tonnes, Olive Oil Times wrote.
After last year’s bumper yield of 330,000 tonnes, olive oil production in Greece was expected to decline significantly, with preliminary estimates of 200,000 tonnes.
Based on this forecast, Greek olive oil production was expected to fall almost 40% compared to the previous year and would be 28% below the average of the previous four crop years.
After a record yield of 421,000 tonnes last year, which made Turkey the world’s second-largest producer, this year’s harvest was expected to decline significantly, the report said.
Turkey’s National Olive and Olive Oil Council president Mustafa Tan told Olive Oil Times that production was expected to reach just 180,000 tonnes in the 2023/24 crop year, a 57% decrease compared to the previous year and 33% below the average of the previous four crop years.
Meanwhile, officials and producers in Morocco expected olive oil production to increase by 10% compared to the 2022/23 harvest to reach an estimated total of 171,600 tonnes.
Officials and producers in Portugal estimated that olive oil production would continue its upward trend this year to reach around 145,000 tonnes, which would exceed the previous year’s total of 125,000 tonnes by 16% and the average of the previous four years by slightly more than 1%, the report said.