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Several farmers take part in the olive harvest on a farm in Campillos this week. SUR
Farmers report low olive yields to mark the start of the new season in Malaga
Agriculture

Farmers report low olive yields to mark the start of the new season in Malaga

The sector predicts the price for olive oil will remain high the longer it continues not to rain in the province

Matías Stuber

Malaga

Friday, 5 January 2024, 19:15

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The first few weeks of the current olive harvest have got off to a poor start, according to farmers in Malaga province.

A lack of rain has not allowed the olives to fully develop, resulting in low yields, president of the Campillos Cooperative Benito Avilés told SUR.

The season, according to official predictions, should improve on last year's harvest after the regional ministry of agriculture set a figure of 31,000 tonnes, an increase of 2.3% compared to the 2022-23 season which was the worst in the past 20 years.

Despite poor yields last year, there were still reserves in warehouses, but those stocks are dwindling this year. "What there is now in the field is all that there is, said Perfecto Matas, an olive farmer from Antequera.

The figures

A total of 31,000 tonnes is the harvest estimated by the Andalusian regional government for the Malaga olive groves in the 2023-24 season. But this does not mean the consumer should expect lower prices in the supermarkets.

"We are exposed to very negative weather conditions. The desired autumn rains have not arrived. We are harvesting olives in summer temperatures," Avilés said. Concern has also reached Asaja, the main agricultural cooperative in Malaga province. "Although the harvest is being brought forward as much as possible, the truth is that the oil yields are not as good as expected," they said.

There is no official word in the olive sector about a drop in prices, with a combination of a lack of product and a lack of stock pointing towards the price per litre continuing to be around or above eight euros for oil in the coming months.

When will prices return to normal? Avilés said: "No matter how much we want to think about it, it is a meteorological question. The price will go down when it rains again". He can't remember two consecutive seasons with such low yields. "Last season there were 30,000 tonnes, this year we are aiming for 31,000," he said. "Before, a season of 50,000 tonnes could be considered normal," he added.

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