Heatwave threatens Spain's olive oil production


Heatwave threatens Spains olive oil production

Spain is facing a crisis in its annual olive harvest.

The nation experienced its worst drought in 500 years this summer.

Its olive oil production, crucial to global supply, could be down by as much as 40 percent.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Jaén, Spain.

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Drought tests resilience of Spain's olive groves and farmers

An extremely hot, dry summer that shrank reservoirs and sparked forest fires is now threatening the heartiest of Spain's staple crops: the olives that make the European country the world's leading producer and exporter of the tiny green fruits that are pressed into golden oil.

Industry experts and authorities predict Spain's fall olive harvest will be nearly half the size of last year's, another casualty of global weather shifts caused by climate change.

High temperatures in May killed many of the blossoms on the olive trees in Spanish orchards. The ones that survived produced fruits that were small and thin because of not enough water. A little less moisture can actually yield better olive oil, but the recent drought is proving too much for them.

This year has been the third-driest in Spain since records were started in 1964. The Mediterranean country also had its hottest summer on record.

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Drought Causes Shortages, Shoots Up Olive Oil Price

Spain suffers a deep drought and a historic shortage of olive oil, which caused a historic rise in its price.

According to a media outlet in the country, "olive oil prices have skyrocketed in recent months in Spain, following the drought that hit the field last year and low expectations for the next campaign. Currently, the liter of branded oil is around 9 euros or even more in the case of extra virgin. Since mid-June the price of olive oil, the white label, has risen by 25% and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of July has touched 39%".

In this regard, José Luis Ávila, general secretary of the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers (COAG) of Jaén and responsible for the oil sector, considers that "the lack of water; The high temperatures and the tremendous shortage of the product will make the price of oil remain more expensive for a few more months. The Ministry of Agriculture revealed that olive oil production for this 2022/2023 campaign has remained at 675,093 tons, 54.7% less than the previous season."

Likewise, Ávila revealed that "the producing sector has been selling the oil throughout the campaign, since no type of speculation was generated by the production. There is practically no oil left in the hands of producers. This situation should serve as a lesson to take foresight measures."

The producer lamented the fact that "it cannot be that, being as we are a purely exporting country of olive oil, we spend years misselling our product at very low prices and then situations like these occur."

Olive oil may become unaffordable for Spaniards – El Mundo (Russia Today)


Spanish authorities are sounding the alarm over olive oil prices, which continue to rise and may eventually turn this Mediterranean staple into a “gourmet product,” the newspaper El Mundo reported on Friday, citing sources in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Olive oil from Andalusia soared to €8.20 ($8.90) per liter last week, marking the highest price ever recorded for Spanish olive oil, according to data from Mintec, representing a 115% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, the price surge continues.

“The market takes it for granted that prices will keep rising until at least the end of the year,” the outlet noted, adding that extra virgin prices are expected to reach €10 per bottle by autumn.

Shelf prices for olive oil in a number of Spanish supermarkets have already surged to €8.50 per liter making the product almost unaffordable for middle-class households, the outlet said.

The Spanish olive oil sector is currently grappling with mounting concerns regarding availability in the coming months following the severe drought that Spain has been experiencing since last summer.

In the agricultural year of 2022-2023, olive oil output in Spain more than halved to 675,000 tons, representing a 54.7% slump year-on-year. This made the country's current output volume the worst so far this century, the outlet wrote, citing data from the Agriculture Ministry.

The July report from the Spanish government also revealed a significant reduction in stocks, which declined by approximately 73,000 to 75,000 metric tons last month.

It's not just Spain - it's across The Med – Spain mentioned in article:

Olive oil prices soar as climate-related catastrophes shrink Mediterranean harvests

Spain is in even worse shape because of the savage drought in the Western Mediterranean, which has had persistently low rainfall for more than a year and temperatures as much as four degrees Celsius above normal in the spring. A May report by the European Commission’s Copernicus Programme said that “both in northern Africa and in the Iberian Peninsula [Spain and Portugal], severe impacts on crops have been reported, with reduced and delayed sowing and well below average yield forecast.”

In the last harvest, Spain produced only 660,000 tonnes of oil, about half its usual output and the smallest figure in almost a decade, as trees shed fruit to preserve moisture. The olive council predicts that Spanish production will rebound this year by 28 per cent, to 850,000 tonnes – still well below the 1.3 million tonnes of a typical year.

What really stands out, however, is the cost of olive oil: In Italy, it was up 43% from a year earlier and Spain saw an even bigger 67% jump.

Spanish households need to spend on ingredients to make the signature Mediterranean dishes, increased 8.2% and 20.6% from a year earlier in September.

Spain's Deoleo Sees Olive Oil Prices Staying High Until June 2024

Spain is the world's top olive oil producer, supplying about 40% of the world's output, making it a reference for international olive oil prices.

"I don't expect the current higher prices to go any further than they are at the moment... but we do expect olive oil prices to ease for consumers from June 2024," Deoleo CEO Ignacio Silva.

The price of extra virgin olive oil has doubled in Spain since the beginning of the year, reaching €8.10 ($8.54) per kilo in the first half of October, according to official figures. The prices are 155% higher than in the same period two years ago.

In supermarkets, the price for a bottle of extra virgin olive oil rose 76% in September.


Spain is running out of olive oil!

By Jennifer Popplewell • Published: 11 Jan 2024 • 22:46

A terrible harvest for 2023 Credit: Shutterstock/1545682139

Although Spain rejoiced in a short burst of rain recently, it seems that the disastrous effects of the nationwide drought still continue to mount.

In what is being described as a ‘national disaster’, Spain is rapidly running out of one of its favourite products, their ‘liquid gold’: [olive oil](https://euroweeklynews.com/2024/01/01/the-rising-cost-of-olive-oil-