Olive production falls 15% in Portugal

 In Agriculture, News

Olive oil output from Portugal is likely to fall this year by as much as 15% after a disappointing harvest in 2018 due to the excessive temperatures recorded in August’s heatwave.

After a bumper year in 2017, last summer’s heat wave stopped the fruit from maturing. The result os that crop revenues will fall far short of that record harvest.

In fact, it is estimated that the 2018/2019 harvest will bring in 95,000 tonnes of olive oil from the Alentejo which is also down to lower returns according to sector associations.

The production from last season’s harvest, which ran until mid-February this year, “is likely to be less than last years” says Henrique Herculano, from the Alentejo Centre for the Study and Promotion of Olive Oil (Centro do Azeite do Alentejo (CEPAAL).

Herculano says that in the Alentejo, where there is 180,000 hectares of olive groves, “there is an estimated production of 95,000 tonnes of olive oil for 2018/2019 which corresponds to around 80% of production in Portugal.”

Olive production was “reasonable” this year and “oscillations in relation to previous years were offset by the gradual maturity of new olive groves,” he explained to the Lusa online news agency.

The expected fall in olive oil production which resulted from a poorer olive harvest is largely down to a late summer and scorching August resulting in insufficient time for the crop to ripen.

“The situation caused an overall decline in the quantity of oil in the olives” on the one hand and “a late ripening which produced good quality olives but later on in the season,” he said.