9 Aug, 2023 @ 12:51
1 min read

Olive oil prices rocket to sky-high levels as olive harvests get ravaged by drought across Spain

Millions of euros worth of counterfeit olive oil has been seized throughout Europe in recent years. Credit: neufal54 on Pixabay

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OLIVE OIL price rises are showing no sign of slowing down in Spain with the cost of a litre doubling over a year due to droughts destroying olive crops.

Known as ‘liquid gold’, the lowest price for a litre of ‘basic’ olive oil comes in at around €6.45 with a warning that prices will rise still further.

Premium extra virgin and artisan oils start at between €7.50 and €10.00 per litre.

In the Murcia region, Antonia Cruz from the Jumilla branch of the COAG farmers organisation said: “Prices will continue to rise because there is no product”.

“The drought is subjecting olive trees to a lot of water stress and if the weather continues as it is, next year the trees will suffer because they will eliminate the fruit to save themselves,” she added.

Another consequence of low production is an increasing threat of rival products according to Rafael Pico from Spain’s olive oil export group.

“The temptation for customers to switch to vegetable oil is great as well as looking for cheaper prices from countries like Morocco, Tunisia or Turkey,” he warned.

In 2022, the consumption of olive oil decreased in Spain despite the growth in spending per litre.

According to the month-by-month report on consumption prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Spanish households consumed 532.6 million litres in December 2021, compared to 476.6 million litres in December 2022..

Spain is the world’s biggest olive oil producer but agreeing with Antonia Cruz, Pico said that vastly reduced production because of the drought has caused a short harvest for the second successive year.

“The price at origin has risen by 50% and if the weather does not change, oil is going to be even more expensive,” he added.

The long-range autumn weather forecast offers some hope with indications of rain coming after another hot summer, but its not just a lack of olives that are pumping up prices.

Primitivo Fernandez from the edible oil refiners association, Anierca, said: “Olive oil supplies are short but to this we must add the rise in the costs of plastic, cardboard, energy, as well as prices paid to farmers.”

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