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More olive oil for all. The next harvest will be generous

Report by “Teatro Naturale” about the oil harvest in the Mediterranean
Increasing production everywhere, but stocks from last season still large

The Mediterranean oil campaign of the year 2009-2010 is off to a promising start, as reported by the online weekly Teatro Naturale (, the magazine leader for the information on olive oil.

The report depicts the first hand estimates of informers from the production areas in Italy and in the rest of the world, a largely positive picture. It has been estimated that the overall production of oil will amount to 2.455.000 tons, with a clear increase from last year (1.897.000 tons). Nothing is still defined, though, and caution is necessary, in the hope that no unforeseen calamities, or unfavorable conditions for the harvest, will appear.

With respect to the apparent generosity of this oil campaign, there is no sure thing on the oil market. It is not sure that an overproduction would implicate a drop in prices. What is sure is a lower valuation, but not before the harvest campaign. On the contrary, a higher spread could emerge among the best known origins. Some influence on the price on markets could be played by the approximate 228 thousand tons of stocks, of which 10 thousand are in Italy, and 150 thousand in Spain. For now, we present the report of “Teatro Naturale”, for every country.

In Italy, the production will increase from 270 thousand tons to 300 thousand, estimated for the next campaign. The reference is always the Northern part of Bari province, where a good harvest is expected. In Salento too, the quality of olives is good, but a reduction is expected from last year. More olives have grown in Taranto Murge, but less than last season.
Good performances are expected in Sicily too, with the exception of Palermo area, recently affected by atmospheric calamities that will limit the production.
This will be a very good year in Calabria, especially in the North, where the quality is good. The increase will be of 20%.
A bad season is foreseen in Central Italy, where a 30% decrease is expected in Umbria, Lazio, and most of all in Tuscany, where last year production was considerably high.
In the North, the general situation is positive, both in quality and quantity, in Liguria. Same in the area of the Garda lake, where the quality is guaranteed, while volumes are stable on the Veronese and Trentino banks, and in light diminution in the Brescia side of the lake.

A productive increase is expected in Spain, too: from 1.027.000 tons 1.300.0000 tons. The situation looks alright in Andalucia, in the areas of Cordoba and Sevilla, and also around Toledo, in the center of Spain. Here, oils resented from the cold temperatures in the last years, while the next campaign should not be affected by any of these problems, thus making a good quality expected, even though it will ultimately depend on the true effects of the winter.

In Greece too the production will considerably increase, from 200 thousand to 280 thousand tons. In the Peloponnesus area the production will be large, with elements that should guarantee a good quality. Quality, and quantity. In Creta, too the trend is positive, but in Sitia area, where excellent quality is expected, the production will decrease.

Standard production, with a light increase in Portugal (40 to 45 thousand tons), where the overall quality will be good, both for local oils and for oils obtained from Spanish and Italian olives.

A decrease will take place in Tunisia, from 150 thousand to 140 thousand tons, due to drought, with some problems of quality in certain regions.

Standard production in Morocco, with about 50 thousand tons, like last year.

A significant growth is expected in Turkey, where the problem is represented by the large stocks from last year, accounting for around 25 thousand tons. This quantity will affect the market. The production will rise from 130 thousand tons to 175 thousand tons. The quality will be particularly good in olives coming from the North-West of the country.

Like in Turkey, the contraction of the export towards EU countries has affected the stocks in Syria, where the production is expected in the range of 155 thousand tons, from the 90 thousand tons of last year.

In Egypt the 10 thousand tons production will be in the same range of last year.

Considering that oil stocks should be considered an additional quantity of available product, these will add up to the production of the 2009-2010 campaign. If the total of stocked oils amount to 228 thousand tons, the oil available on the market in the next months will be in the range of 2.683.000 tons.

by Alberto Grimelli, Luigi Caricato, Marcello Scoccia
05 october 2009, Technical Area > Olive & Oil