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Evolution of the 2018/19 Campaign in the main producing countries

Evolution of the 2018/19 Campaign in the main producing countries

2019/15/01 - International consultants and experts from the olive oil sector analyze in this article the development of the 2018/19 Olive Oil campaign, as well as the prices, in some of the main producing countries.

Italy

The writer, journalist, oleologist and director of Olio Officina, Luigi Caricato, has stressed that the initial forecasts left "a place for hope", with estimates of production between 200,000 and 250,000 tons of olive oil, a very low figure regarding the usual production although "quite acceptable". Caricato also highlights the notable decrease of production in Puglia, Italy's most important olive region -which represents between 40 and 60% of the national production-, which finally will reach 170,000 tons. However, operators with real market control are more drastic and calculate the total production of Italy at around 150,000 tons, waiting for the definitive data that will be available shortly.

Luigi Caricato has indicated that this decline is largely due to the effects of frost, which has affected the harvest in northern Puglia, in addition to the crops affected by Xylella fastidiosa in southern Puglia. In addition, the evolution has not been positive in other regions of the south. As a result, several factories have closed or have been opened for just two months.

"This is a year to forget, although it is not surprising, since Italy has not invested in new olive growing mechanisms. The agricultural organizations talk about one million days lost during the harvest; meanwhile, the "orange vests" take the streets, imitating the French citizens, but it will not help if Italy does not invest in new high-density plantations," he says.

Regarding average prices, Caricato has detailed that they remain stable at this time and that those of of extra virgin are around 5 euros/kg., excluding VAT, with peaks of around 5.80 euros/kg., except for those with PDO and PGI certificates, which are a bit higher.

Greece

As for the campaign in Greece, broker specialized in the Greek market Luigino Mazzei has stressed that it is practically finished, except in Crete, where the rains are causing significant delays in the harvest.

Regarding the first estimates of production, which stood at 220,000 tons, Mazzei has pointed out that there has been a sharp reduction until 170,000 tons due to the "impressive" decline recorded especially in the Peloponnese and also in Crete by the "strong attacks" of the olive fly and the widespread presence of leprosy, which also compromised the quality of the oil produced. "A bad result in terms of quality, which I do not remember in Greece for at least 30 years," he considered.

On the other hand, the oil of acidity between 0.5-0.6 is paid to the producer at 2.70-2.80 euros; while few oils of acidity between 0.3 and 0.35 are between 3.10 and 3.30 euros.

"I don't think that Greece can export significant quantities to Italy this year and I figure that extra virgin will be used mainly by Greek packers. Maybe in a few months we will also need to import something from Spain or Portugal," he concluded.

Spain
In Spain, according to the international strategic consultant on olive oil, analyst and professor at the University of Jaén (UJA) Juan Vilar, the campaign is at 50% and could reach 1.6 million tons with certain peculiarities. Regarding yields, Vilar pointed out that there could be three points below the average in terms of oil content in the fruit. He also stressed that the positive evolution in production has embodied in a greater extent in the dryland crops, compared with the previous season, while the irrigated crops show a similar behavior regarding the previous season.

By regions, Andalusia would produce approximately 78% of the total; Castilla-La Mancha, 8%; Extremadura, 3%; and the rest of the regions would contribute with the other 11%.

According to Juan Vilar, and regarding the different categories, due to certain vicissitudes such as the presence of the olive fly, late rains and frosts in some localized spots, the solvent extra virgins will be scarce, while there will be a majority of virgins; and lampante oils will not be very common due to the evolution of the harvest which has been fast, agile and flexible due to the absence of rain.

Likewise, the demand and the evolution of prices will follow a trend similar to the current one, being positive in the stable and high-quality extra virgins. In his opinion, it is likely that a turning point will emerge in April or May depending on future harvest expectations, both national and international.

"International production from the current 63 olive oil producing countries could reach 3.1 million tons", says Juan Vilar.

Portugal
In Portugal -reports Alberto Serralha, CEO of Sociedade Agrícola Ouro Vegetal, S.A. (SAOV), producer and international consultant of olive oil- olive harvesting is coming to an end in many regions. It is a very different campaign regarding the previous, with little production during October and November, and high harvest intensity in December.
Until the end of the year, according to Serralha, the health and condition of the fruit has been very good, providing the mills with a high-quality raw material. However, during the last few days, many varieties have been affected by frost, resulting in oils with sensory defects.


The industrial yield has been located approximately three points below the previous season and most likely will be grinding 30% less olive than the previous year. According to this expert, everything indicates that Portugal will not produce 100,000 tons of oil this season.

As for EVOO prices, they range between 2.7 euros and 3.3 euros/kg. depending on the quality.

Tunisia
The commercial agent and Italian broker Adriano Caramia has assured that the forecasts of a production of 140,000 tons have been reaffirmed, although with a small downward correction.

The harvest is at 60-70% of the total, having already ended in the north; while the Kairouan area will end at the beginning of February, and the south at the end of that same month.

According to Caramia, the yields are improving and also is the quality. Currently there are yields that are moving through a range of 22-26% for the extra virgin (depending on the area) and 26-28% for the lampante oil.

As for qualities, 50% would correspond to extra virgin, 30% to virgin and 20% to lampante.

Regarding prices, since the beginning of the year they have undergone upward adjustments and extra virgin olive oils have gone from an average price in January 2018 of 3.50 euros to 2.50 euros in these days.

Morocco
As for Morocco, Noureddine Ouazzani, director of Agro-pôle Olivier, has highlighted that it is an exceptional year in production, with a new record with more than 2,000,000 tons of olives, which represents an increase of 42% compared to the average of the last five years.

This year is characterized by a large production in rain-fed olive groves, which reached an average of 6-8 tons/ha. in some areas. Ouazzani anticipates that the forecasts of the beginning of the campaign will be surpassed, reason why the production will reach between 200,000 and 220,000 tons of olive oil.

This year, the liter of olive oil is being sold in the mills between 2.4 and 3.80 euros, compared to the 4.6 euros/liter that were paid last year, due to the significant production figure. "The lack of rainfall, since the beginning of the harvest, as well as the shortage of olive fly attacks, have had a favorable impact on the quality of the olive oil produced," he said, while predicting that harvesting and milling will continue beyond the month of February.

It should be noted that the production figures for this year are the first results of the Green Morocco Plan, which has helped to increase the area dedicated to this crop. In the same way, as he stressed, the sector has modernized and the quality of the product and the positioning of exports have improved, especially the US market.

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