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World Olive Oil Production and Market

The olive oil tree flourishes in Mediterranean-type climates (between 30-45th latitudes) with hot dry summers and cool winters. The trees are sensitive to the cold during the growing season, but are able to tolerate drought and heat. Olive oil production is still mostly centered in the Mediterranean region, although in recent years we are beginning to see olive oils from regions throughout the world.

Spain with over 320 million olive trees is the number one producer of olive oil at 37% of world production, with 75% of that coming from Andalusia.  The types of olives grown in Spain are the arbequina and verdial varieties of Catalonia, and the hojiblanca, piqual, cornicabra, and lechin varieties of the south. The piqual variety of the south accounts for 40% of all olive trees in Spain.

The second largest producer with 24% of worldwide production is Italy. The types of olives grown in Italia are the coratina in Puglia (Bari) , Ogliarola Barese in Puglia and Basilicata , Carolea in Calabria , Leccino in Toscana and Umbria , Frantoio and Moraiolo in the centre of Italia , Taggiasca in Liguria.
Italians who consume 10 quarts of olive oil per person per year do not produce enough oil for their domestic consumption, yet they are one of the largest exporters of olive oil in the world. Much of their oil is imported, bottled and exported as an Italian product. Spain Greece and Tunisia are their major suppliers.

Greece is the third largest producer with 22% of the world production. And Tunisia the fourth producer with 9% of the world production , the types of olives grown in Tunisia are essantialy represented ( 95%) by two types : Chemlali and Chitoui .

Other countries that produce significant amounts of olive oil are Turkey (7%)  , Syria (7%) and Morocco (2%) .

These seven countries alone account for 90% of world production


Olive oil represents 3% of all fats and oils consumed in the world.

The main olive oil producers are also the main consuming countries. European Union accounts for 82% of world consumption. Mediterranean basin countries represent 90% of world consumption. Other consuming countries are United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Production Cost and Market Price

Olive oil is a relatively expensive oil compared to other kinds of oil since it needs a special production treatment: olive crop is a long process (olives are produced only after the maturity of the tree; that means after five years). Harvest is still made by hand in most of the regions. Finally, processing needs an advanced technology, particularly in large producing areas(see technology).

Prices paid to producers are quite unstable, mainly due to the change in the quantities produced from one year to another and the level of stocks. However, it is difficult to assess the price formation mechanism. Refined olive oils are generally less expensive than virgin oils.  A possible explanation would be an insufficent amount of lampante oil to meet demand of refining industry given the good quality of produced virgin oil and as a result an increase in lampante oil prices.

 The producer prices paid on three representative markets of the Europeen Country – Bari (Italy), Heraklion/Messinia (Greece) and Jaén (Spain). And also market of Sfax (Tunisia); their movements influence the prices paid in other regions of the European Community and have an impact on pricing in other producing countries, especially of exports.


Olive oil News
02-09-2014: Andalusia Boasts Record Olive Oil Exports Amidst Drought
02-09-2014: Despite Drought, Calif. Olive Growers Will See Good Return
02-09-2014: Rock Star Invites Tourists to Help With Olive Harvest
02-09-2014: La Tunisie prête à fournir la Russie en huile d'olive (sorry only in french)
02-09-2014: Tunisia: Décisions pour la réussite de la saison oléicole 2014-2015 (sorry only in french)
02-09-2014: Tunisia ready to replace European supplies to Russia, including olive oil
02-09-2014: Drought in Spain means massive olive oil shortage in months ahead
01-09-2014: Spain: Ha tocado techo el precio del aceite de oliva en origen? (sorry only in spanish)
01-09-2014: Italy: Bloccate oltre 30.000 bottiglie contraffatte di olio d’oliva. Erano in un container per il Canada (sorry only in italian)
01-09-2014: Conference in Spain’s Olive Oil Capital Celebrates Heath and Heritage
26-08-2014: Blight Continues to Threaten Olive Crops in Italy
26-08-2014: Se prohibirá la venta de aceite de oliva a granel en el Reino Unido (sorry only in spanish)
25-08-2014: UK Prohibits Sale of Olive Oil ‘On-Tap’
25-08-2014: How Packaging Influences Olive Oil Quality
25-08-2014: Bacteria destroying Puglia's precious olive groves could ruin Italy's oil industry
25-08-2014: Spain: La mala cosecha de la aceituna anticipa una fuerte subida del precio del aceite en 2015 (sorry only in spanish)
22-08-2014: Espagne: les prix de l'huile d'olive en hausse (sorry only in french)
22-08-2014: La sequía en España amenaza con encarecer el aceite de oliva (sorry only in spanish)
18-08-2014: Drought Threatens Consumer Olive Oil Prices in the U.S. and Abroad
18-08-2014: IOC Seeks New Method to Measure EVOO Phenolics
18-08-2014: Thousands fill downtown for Olive Festival
18-08-2014: Thousands of olive trees in Italy infected by bacteria; olive oil prices could soar
18-08-2014: Spain's Severe Drought Threatens Olive Harvest
18-08-2014: Los mercados están preocupados porque España pierde aceite (sorry only in spanish)
14-08-2014: Declining Olive Oil Prices Pose Challenges for Indian Rice Bran
14-08-2014: Spain: Walnutolive: innovación oleícola saludable (sorry only in spanish)
13-08-2014: Spain Replaces Italy as Top Olive Oil Exporter to the U.S. and Japan
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