Greece is set to overcome Italy and become Europe’s second-largest olive oil producer after Spain according to a new research report published recently.
The Italian Institute for the Agricultural and Food Market of Ismea estimates that olive oil in Italy could fall by as much as 120,000 tons or 37 percent compared to last year.
According to this research, production in the 2022/23 crop year is estimated at 208,000 tons, which would see Italy fall from the second to the third largest olive oil producer in Europe.
Greece can exceed last year’s yield and provide more than 300,000 tons, thus surpassing Italy.
In Spain, the world’s largest olive oil producer, a 30- to 50-percent drop in production is expected. Yields are also expected to drop in Portugal and France.
The cause of this dramatic decrease across Southern and Western Europe has largely been attributed to the historic drought and high summer temperatures, which hindered the vegetative development of olive trees and accumulation of oil in the fruits.
With the olive harvest in full swing in Greece, the expected olive oil production increase along with high producer prices, which remain steadily above €4.50 per kilogram of extra virgin olive oil, have raised producers’ hopes for a rewarding crop this year.
Greece’s olive oil exports continue the upward trend
The European Union is the leading producer, consumer, and exporter of olive oil.
The EU produces roughly 67 percent of the world’s olive oil. Around four million hectares, mainly in the EU Mediterranean countries, are dedicated to the cultivation of olives trees, combining traditional, intensive, and super-intensive groves.
Italy and Spain are the largest consumers of olive oil in the EU, with an annual consumption of around 500,000 tons each while Greece has the biggest EU consumption per capita with around twelve kilograms per person annually. In total, the EU accounts for around 53 percent of the world’s olive oil consumption.
In terms of trade, the EU represents roughly 65 percent of world exports of olive oil. The main destinations for the EU’s olive oil are the United States, Brazil, and Japan.
Greek olive oil exports increased by a remarkable 225 percent between 2002 and 2020, SEVITEL (the Association of Olive Oil Producers) found in a report published recently.
The actual volume of olive oil increased from 14,871 tons in 2002 to 52,735 in 2020.
The report showed that Greece exported 31,655 tons of olive oil to European countries in 2020 alone. This was an increase of 319 percent from 7,561 tons in 2002.
Germany is by far the biggest importer of Greek olive oil, representing almost half of the amount imported by Europe. The country imported 14,907 tons in 2020. After Germany comes the UK (2,698 tons), Austria (2,578 tons), France (2,032 tons), Belgium (1,463 tons), Sweden (1,385 tons) and Cyprus (1,209 tons).