W36: Olive & Olive Oil Update

In W36 in the olive and olive oil landscape, Spanish olive oil sales faced an 18.22% decline in the first seven months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, with a total of 147.48 million liters. Specifically, extra virgin olive oil sales dropped by 13.99% to 63 million liters, "soft" olive oil sales fell by 28.53% to 47.4 million liters, and "intense" olive oil sales decreased by 19.87% to 19.76 million liters. However, virgin oil saw a 6.14% increase in sales, reaching 16.77 million liters during the Jan-23 to Jul-23 period.

With two months left until the end of the campaign, 221.22 million liters of olive oil have been placed on the market in the 2022/23 campaign, marking a 14.05% decrease compared to the same period in the 2021/22 campaign. Spanish olive oil prices have doubled in the past year and continue to rise, reaching the highest prices in a decade. In Aug-23, a liter of olive oil cost between USD 10.72 to USD 13.93, while a 5-liter bottle ranged from USD 28.94 to USD 48.23, depending on the type.

The Extremadura Manzanilla Cacereña Olive Association (ASEXMAC) has announced the start of the 2023/24 Cáceres manzanilla olive campaign in Extremadura, Spain, on September 11. This decision comes in response to significant challenges such as drought, adverse weather conditions, and expected low production levels. ASEXMAC plays a pivotal role, representing over 80% of the olive sector in northern Extremadura, which includes various stakeholders engaged in the production process of Manzanilla Cácereña olives.

Meanwhile, in Cáceres, Spain, olive producers and cooperatives are being urged by the UPA-UCE Extremadura and Manzanilla Cacereña Traditional Olive Grove Association (ASOMANCA) not to accept prices below the production cost of USD 1.26 per kilogram (kg) in the current season. Despite this, the ongoing campaign is expected to have normal production levels, estimated at 45 thousand metric tons (mt) to 50 thousand mt, and is characterized by high-quality olives. Unlike the previous year, which suffered an 80% reduction in production due to drought, the 2023 crop has not encountered significant issues apart from isolated hail incidents.

A sensory analysis conducted by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock revealed that a staggering 84% of olives identified for the production of extra virgin olive oil in Brazil are not of the claimed quality and may even pose health risks. This finding highlights a problem of deceptive marketing and fraudulent olive oil products in the country. Consequently, the Brazilian government is increasing its investments in laboratories to conduct more comprehensive analyses and ensure accurate information reaches consumers effectively.

Lastly, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) issued a notification on September 5 regarding the importation of Moroccan olives into Spain. These olives were found to be contaminated with a banned pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, at concentrations exceeding the authorized maximum residue limit (MRL) in Europe. The contaminated olives were distributed exclusively within Spanish territory, raising concerns about food safety.

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