Higher prices at the start of the table olive campaign

CASE Ih – New Holland
The drought and the olive grove diminish the harvest of table olives, which will be the shortest of the last decade with only 487,000 tons.
The national table olive production of the 2019/2020 campaign will be the lowest in the last ten years. Specifically, the capacity of ASAJA-Seville estimates that Spanish table olive production will be 487,000 tons, 101,000 tons less than those collected last season. Gordal and chamomile varieties will be the ones that will suffer the most decline, since they will see their harvest reduced by more than 50 percent. However, as a result, among other things, of this crop reduction, the olive has a high quality, given that the caliber of the olive tree is much less loaded.
The table olive harvesting campaign, which traditionally begins in September, will be this year shorter than usual. The reduction of rainfall by 35% and the heat stroke of last spring have reduced the production of the gordal and chamomile varieties, which had a low flowering and a very irregular setting. As indicated by all the gates – including the one made by Interaceituna – the production of both varieties will fall by more than 50%. Specifically, in the case of chamomile, ASAJA-Sevilla estimates that the final production will be 95,000 tons, 114,000 tons less than the last one, while in the case of the gordal it is estimated that 17,000 tons will be collected, 26,000 tons less than the last one However, the recovery of the production of Extremadura varieties (Cacereña and Carrasqueña) and the much more attenuated reduction of the Hojiblanca variety, make up the figures and prevent a greater fall in national production.
These data were offered yesterday at the XXXVII Mesa Olive Day held by ASAJA-Sevilla in Huévar del Aljarafe with the collaboration of the Caja Rural del Sur Foundation, Peugeot PSA Retail Sevilla, Bayer, the City Council of Huévar del Aljarafe, the Regulatory Council of the PGI Olives Manzanilla and Gordal of Seville and Asegasa. In the meeting, in which more than 200 farmers participated, they participated together with the president of ASAJA-Sevilla, Ricardo Serra, the mayor of Huévar, María Eugenia Moreno, the general secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of the Junta de Andalucía, Vicente Pérez, the Agricultural Productions Service technician of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fernando Gómez, Bayer’s operational marketing coordinator, Miguel Ángel Sanz, the president of the Regulatory Council of the PGI Aceituna Manzanilla and Gordal of Seville, Juan Luis Oropesa, the President of ASEMESA, José Ignacio Montaño, the technical manager of the Mesa Olive sector of ASAJA-Sevilla, José Vázquez, and the labor legal advisor of ASAJA-Sevilla, Felipe Gayoso.

Prices at rising origin

These harvest estimates that are well below the usual needs of the industry and the Spanish packers, were offered in his speech by the technical manager of the ASAJA-Seville Mesa Olive sector, José Vázquez, who showed that National consumption and export needs exceed 600,000 tons, so in order to meet the commercial commitments of the sector it will be necessary to output an important part of the stocks that are carried over from previous campaigns. This situation has caused the recovery of the price at source for all varieties, and with special incidence for the gordal and chamomile, the two scarcer this campaign.
Likewise, José Vázquez reminded all farmers to demand compliance with the Food Chain Law and not deliver their olives without price or at an open price. “The olive must be sold with a written contract and at a certain price or objectively referenced, as established by law.” So I urge you to “in case any buyer or operator refuses to comply with this rule, report it at the offices of ASAJA-Seville to raise the corresponding complaint.”
Regarding the balance of the ASAJA-Sevilla Vázquez campaign, he also highlighted the good performance of exports, which have increased by almost 4% from the 357,000 tons of the 2017/2018 campaign to the 371,000 of 2018/2019, consolidating the growth trend shown in the three previous campaigns. And all this in a campaign in which the levy imposed in August 2018 on the Spanish black olive by the Trump administration, which has caused a 50% reduction in exports of national black olives to the United States, has been weighed. The future of trade with that country is increasingly uncertain, since the threat of new Trump administration tariffs on various European agricultural products hangs over the sector, including table olives.
Management’s performance with this emblematic sector of the province of Seville, which, in the opinion of ASAJA-Seville, is not given the attention it deserves. Thus, the Ministry of Agriculture has been suspending some subjects for several semesters, so we understand that it is our obligation to remember them to take note of the future government and get to it as quickly as possible. From ASAJA-Sevilla we understand that the next Minister of Agriculture must:
Work on the implementation of a self-regulation mechanism, similar to what is already being proposed for the olive oil sector, which offers greater stability at the prices at source.
To achieve that in the new reform of the CAP the table olive is equated with other sectors in difficulty and can opt for a coupled aid similar to that already received by more than a dozen productions.
Extend the regulations on the correct labeling to the table olive sector to break the current opacity and to make it easier for the consumer to know what he is buying. Currently, it is not mandatory that the origin or variety of the olive be included on the labels, an obstacle to transparency and traceability. Approve a restructuring and renovation plan similar to those that have been implemented with other sectors (vineyards, almond trees …) to modernize the table olive grove sector and offer an alternative to unviable farms.
Spain has 2,605,200 hectares of olive groves, of which 149,700 (5.7%) are dedicated to the production of table olives (the rest goes to the production of olive oil). The production of table olives is concentrated in two regions located in the southern half of Spain: Andalusia (83.5%) and Extremadura (13.7%). Consequently, most of the companies operating in this sector are also located in these two regions, with more than 400 companies currently active.
The sector generates in Spain about 8,000 direct jobs and more than 6 million wages as a result of the collection and cultivation of the olive tree. To this we must add the jobs created by companies and auxiliary factories such as glass, tin, cardboard, machinery, transport, etc. All this represents 22% of the value and almost 30% of the employment generated in Spain by the canned and prepared vegetable products sector. It is estimated that the contribution of the sector to national GDP exceeds 1,000 million euros, which is especially relevant in relative terms for the GDP of the regions of Andalusia and Extremadura.