The 2020/21 olive oil production season is drawing to an end in the Mediterranean basin, marked by the health crisis of Covid-19 and by major weather challenges throughout the harvesting phase.
Market sources estimate that Spain, the major producing country, will have a production of around 1,450,000 T, which together with the low output estimated in the rest of the Mediterranean will give us a world production if approximately 2,900,000 T (the previous crop year production was 3,100,000 T).
Although there are no official figures yet, the Italian harvest will be generally very good in qualitative terms, but poor in quantities, which should reach 180,000 T at most as a consequence of the significant reduction il the main producing regions of Puglia and Calabria.
The significant drop in the Spanish production from an initially forecasted 1,800,000 T to an estimate of 1.45 million tons is due to the lowest yield level in 25 years, as a consequence of the weather conditions that affected the harvest, from a dry, hot autumn to a record-breaking cold winter with storms, snow and frost.
In Greece, data released so far reveal a mediocre season, with a projected output of around 250,000 T, 100,000 of which are being produced in Crete, where the quality is proving excellent.
The Portuguese harvest, affected by several difficulties such as pathogens and infections of the fruits, will be scarce (90,000 T) and characterised by pour quality.
Outside of the European Union, Tunisia is expected to produce 100,000 to 120,000 T, 70% down from the previous crop, while Morocco’s output should hit 120,000 T.
Overall, the limited supply of extra virgin olive oil in the Mediterranean producing countries and a lower quantity of carryover stocks (400,000 vs 700,000 T in 2019/20) have created the conditions for an upward trend in producer prices. This wouldn’t have happened if the production in Spain had reflected the initial forecasts. As soon as the first signs of market stabilisation are visible, we will share an update on the price trend.