Olive Oil stands out in all fats and oils of vegetable origin, as Spain is the largest producer and exporter of olive oil in the world, with a production of more than 900,000 tonnes per year, 40% of Which are exported. According to these data, the value generated by the sector stood at 2,700.5 million euros. The sector has a relevance in the whole of the national agri-food industry, as much by the number of jobs that it generates as by its volume of production And export. It is because of its economic and social importance so in this section we will limit ourselves to describing the main characteristics of the Spanish olive sector, dedicating to this product another individualized space highlighted in the section the top of the Spanish foods, where we describe in detail the characteristics of This precious “liquid gold” of the Spanish countryside.


The oil is the natural juice obtained from the fresh and healthy fruit of the olive, the olive. According to data from the International Olive Council (IOC), there are around 10 million hectares of olive groves and about 850 million olive trees in the world. For its part, the world production of olive oil is around 2.5 million tons. The European Union, with Spain at the top, is the world’s leading producer of olive oil, with a lot of difference compared to other countries. According to these data, the value generated by the sector stood at 2,700.5 million euros. At European level, production increased to 851,000 tonnes, more than the previous season. Also, the world production stood in the 2014/2015 campaign stood at 2,554,500 tons. Nonetheless, production in third countries has grown in recent years and represents more than 30% of the world total. In addition to the Mediterranean countries (Lebanon, Turkey, etc.), there is also olive oil production in places as remote as Australia, the United States or Argentina. According to data from the International Olive Oil Committee (IOC), the highest consumption of this type of oil is concentrated in the European Union (1.6 million tonnes in the 2014/15 season, a slight decline over the previous season) , But also by countries such as the United States or Morocco.


The business sector of olive oil has a very complex structure, with a value chain that has in its production base around 2 million agricultural holdings dedicated to the olive grove. In the vast majority of cases, these are small and medium-sized farms that set important population quotas in rural areas, mainly in Andalusia, but also in the rest of the southern and Mediterranean regions of our country. Very often, these farms are grouped into production cooperatives. At a second level there are around 1,700 mills, of which more than half are also cooperatives. In Andalusia, 45% of these mills are located, with a production rate of 77%. 23.3% of the Spanish mills have a production of between 20 and 100 tonnes, although the largest productive weight lies in the mills that produce between 1,000 and 2,500 MT (34.1% of the total, whereas in number they only represent 11 %). Apart from these, there are about 60 companies extracting olive oil and just over 20 refineries. Andalusia accounted for the highest percentages, around 62% in both cases. The number of packers and operators is about 1,550.
The processes of concentration and the penetration of international capital are beginning to be significant in the upper links of this chain. Distribution brands accounted for 66.2% of all sales in volume and 59.8% in value.


As for world trade in olive oil, imports and exports of oil are moving around the 700,000-850,000 values. Almost half of the world’s exports of olive oil come from the European Union, about 550,000.produced practically from Spain since the U.E. Imports of olive oil from third countries for a volume close to 120,000 tonnes. Spain is the world’s leading exporter of olive oil. The Spanish oil is sold mainly to the European Union, emphasizing Italy as main destination of these sales. For their part, oil sales to the United States, Australia, Japan and Brazil are important among third countries. Although the difference is shortening from year to year, the percentage of oils in small containers (less than 5 liters) that are sent abroad is still low. Expected consumption for the U.E. During the campaign is about 1.6 million tons, well above production.

Olive oils are a group of foods with good export behavior in both volume and value. Spain is by far the world’s leading exporter of olive oil. In 2014 surpassing 1.1 million tons, which is the largest figure ever exported. With exports reaching 1.13 million tonnes, worth € 2,726 million, our country was the undisputed leader in this market, the world’s leading producer and exporter, where the region of Andalusia undoubtedly stands out. More than 50% of the Spanish olive oil production is exported to a total of 166 countries in the world, among which the U.E. (65% of all commercial value), with Italy leading the way. Outside the U.E., the export is quite diversified, standing out in 2014 United States, with a monthly average of 6,602 tons, China and Brazil.
Of that amount, 67.4% consisted of virgin olive oils, 19.5% for refined oils, 7.5% for marc oil and the remaining 5.6% for lampante virgin olive oils. In terms of destination markets, Italy ranks first, with 32.5% of the total. The figures for Portugal (14.3%), France (11.1%), the United States (7.3%), the United Kingdom (5.4%), China 6%), Brazil (2.1%), Australia (2%), the Netherlands (1.6%) and Russia (1.4%). Overall, the European Union accounts for 74% of all Spanish exports of olive oil, while the remaining 26% goes to other countries outside the EU. A particularly relevant figure in this foreign trade is the magnitude of the items sold in bulk, mainly to Italy, where they are packaged and resold, obtaining a significant profit margin. Although the importance of these items has diminished in recent times, we are facing a pending issue of the Spanish olive sector. The main Spanish oil export company exceeded 46 million liters, while the second one reached 38 million and the third was 37 million liters.
Imports of olive oil amounted to some 128,490 tonnes, of which 58.8% were virgin oils, 27.8% virgin lampante oils, 10.2% refined oils and 3.2% For marc oil. Our main supplier is Portugal, with 28% of the total. Following are Tunisia (25.2%), Greece (12.7%) and Turkey (11.2%).

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