Global olive oil production is forecast to rise by 28% for 2017/2018 compared to the previous year, according to provisional figures by the International Olive Council (IOC).

The IOC said global output was expected to 3,315,000 tonnes for the 2017/18 crop year, an increase of 723,500 tonnes compared with 2016/2017.

Tunisia experienced the largest increase, producing 280,000 tonnes, a 180% increase compared with last year, Olive Oil Times reported on 8 October. Italy also had a strong season, producing 428,900 tonnes, an increase of 135%.

Portugal, Argentina and Greece also experienced large increases, producing an additional 94%, 81% and 77% respectively, compared with the previous 2017/2018 year.

Turkey and Morocco enjoyed more moderate increases, producing 48% and 27% more olive oil respectively than last year.

“Overall, the European Union (EU) increased olive oil production by 25% compared with last year,” the Olive Oil Times report said.

The notable exceptions to the production increases were in Algeria and Spain, which experienced decreases of an estimated 31% and 2.7% respectively.

“However, Spain remains the world’s single largest producer with an output of 1,256,200 tonnes, making up about 38% of the world total.”

The IOC said world olive oil consumption rose by 9% in the 2017/18 harvest season, reaching 2,958,000 tonnes.

Imports in 2017/18 also increased in seven of eight of the IOC’s benchmark markets, by 29% to Brazil, 12% to Canada, 4% to the USA, 2% to Russia and 1% to both Australia and Japan.

China was the only country not to experience growth, with imports decreasing by 8% compared with the previous year although this figure could change as the Chinese government had not released data since April 2018.

Olive Oil Times said that based on official country data and estimates from the IOC Executive Secretariat, world olive oil production in 2018/19 was expected to fall by 7.6% to 3,064,000 tonnes, with olive oil consumption expected to remain at a similar level.