Sharp drop in Italian olive oil production expected, but quality remains high

Sharp drop in Italian olive oil production expected, but quality remains high
  • PublishedNovember 28, 2022

Production estimates processed by ISMEA in collaboration with Italia Olivicola and Unaprol indicate a 37% drop for the 2022-23 campaign

More than 120 thousand tonnes of Italian olive oil less than last year, a 37% drop in production that, if confirmed, could push Italy down from second to third place among the world’s leading producers. This is what emerges from estimates drawn up by ISMEA in collaboration with Italia Olivicola and Unaprol, based on the latest survey carried out in early November, which puts production for the 2022/23 campaign at 208 thousand tonnes.

Pessimistic are also the expectations for world availability, with forecasts of a drop in Iberian production of between -30% and -50%. Among the top producing countries, only Greece is estimated to exceed last year’s levels by more than 300 thousand tonnes, while outside of the EU borders, Tunisia is also expected to have a dump year, with a reduction of around 25%.

The Italian production was affected by climatic problems, first and foremost the long drought and high summer temperatures, which made the vegetative development of the olive groves difficult, but also the fact that in many areas with a higher olive-growing vocation, the harvest that had just begun was already to be considered a discharge following the natural alternation calendar. In general, however, the long drought prevented the proliferation of attacks and this allowed many areas of the country to achieve higher than normal quality levels.

For Apulia, which alone accounts for 50% of national production, ISMEA estimates a production that has more than halved (-52%), in a negative context also for Sicily (-25%), Calabria (-42%) and, more generally, for the entire South. The year, on the other hand, is shaping up to be positive overall in Central Italy, where production is expected to increase in Lazio (+17%), Tuscany (+27%) and Umbria (+27%), against a drop in Marche (-25%). For the northern regions, after last year’s dramatic reductions, the year is looking good, even if not at the levels expected before the great summer drought. In fact, Liguria’s recovery (+27%) is not enough to consider this a good year.

With the harvest just beginning in the country’s most productive areas, caution is, as always, a must, since oil yields will also be a factor. At the moment, the impression is that the harvest will proceed with a tighter schedule than usual in order to avoid further damage caused by the diseases that have begun to appear punctually with the change of climate and relative humidity.

Italia Olivicola
Written By
Alberto Grimelli

Direttore Teatro Naturale