The sector predicts a disastrous year for the olive harvest. / SUR

Olive sector in Andalucía predicts a disastrous year ahead with one of worst harvests in living memory

The forecasts point to a notable reduction in the harvest due to the lack of rainfall and an increase in production costs

JAVIER ALMELLONES MALAGA.

The excellent data from the last olive season contrasts with the pessimistic olive oil production forecasts for the upcoming one. For months, the sector in Andalucía has been waiting for rainfall as, without it, there will be a significant drop in the harvest. And increased energy costs are set to compound matters as olive growers fear they will have one of the worst harvests in living memory, with less olive oil and higher prices due to inflation.

In the first week of October, the regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development estimated that this year approximately three million olives would be harvested for milling, from which 587,000 tonnes of olive oil would be obtained. This quantity represents 49 per cent less oil than the 2021-2022 harvest, mainly due to the accumulated drought of recent years.

Jaén is expected to be the hardest hit province with a forecast harvest of 937,000 tonnes of olives for milling, which will result in 200,000 tonnes of olive oil (down 60 per cent compared to 2021-2022). In the case of Almeria, 55,000 tonnes of olives for milling and 10,000 tonnes of oil are expected; in Cadiz, 52,000 tonnes of olives and 9,000 tonnes of oil; in Cordoba, 850,000 tonnes of olives and 158,000 tonnes of oil; in Granada, 331. 000 tonnes of olives and 70,000 tonnes of oil; in Huelva, 52,000 tonnes of olives and 10,000 tonnes of oil; in Malaga, 215,000 tonnes of olives and 40,000 tonnes of oil; and in Seville, 488,000 tonnes of olives and 90,000 tonnes of oil.

Organic olive oil

At organic olive groves, the forecast points to 16,700 tonnes of oil distributed among all the provinces. In 2022-2023, production is expected to reach 300 tonnes of organic olive oil in Almeria, 200 tonnes in Cadiz, 8,000 tonnes in Cordoba, 1,000 tonnes in Granada, 3,100 tonnes in Huelva, 1,200 tonnes in Jaen, 400 tonnes in Malaga and 2,500 tonnes in Seville.

Regarding eating olives, the first estimate for this season produced by the Andalusian regional government forecasts that 366,448 tonnes will be harvested, a drop of almost a third on last season.