Olive oil production in Italy is expected to total 324,000 tonnes in the 2023/24 crop year, according to the latest forecast by the European Commission (EC) reported by Olive Oil Times.

Italy was expected to produce one-third of Europe’s olive oil this year due to poor harvests in Spain and Greece, the 22 February report said.

An estimated 75% of the Italy’s production meets the extra virgin olive oil grade, according to the report.

The bumper harvest would also replenish olive oil stocks in the country, Olive Oil Times wrote.

According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forests, the country’s extra virgin olive oil stocks totalled more than 200,000 tonnes, far exceeding the 96,000 tonnes reported in October.

At the end of January, Italian stocks of all grades of olive oil totalled 269,574 tonnes, a 14% increase from December 2023. Organic olive oil stocks accounted for 40,552 tonnes.

However, olive oil stocks remained 14.5% lower compared to the same period the previous year.

While olive oil production reached the previous decade’s average in 2023/24, there was a big variation in regional yields, the report said.

Although excessive rainfall and extreme weather events, such as repeated heatwaves, had lowered production in much of central and northern Italy, conditions had been better in the southern regions, Olive Oil Times wrote.

Farmers in the northern region of Lombardy faced some of the harshest climatic conditions.

“We did not have anything to harvest,” Paul Willan, owner of Roveglio, told Olive Oil Times.

“We lost the whole production because of three devastating hailstorms.”

Other significant central Italian olive oil-producing regions, such as Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio, reported mixed results.

“The harvest was not good for quality and volumes, which dropped about 40% compared to last year,” Massimo Romiti, owner of the Umbrian producer La Madonnccia told Olive Oil Times.