By Jo Pugh •
Updated: 05 Aug 2023 • 10:47
ASAJA said stocks are exhausted. Credit: ASAJA Alicante
PRICES of olive oil are soaring on the supermarket shelves. They are exactly 86.4 per cent more expensive than in the same period of 2022.
ASAJA Alicante released a statement on Friday, August 3, foreseeing that the estimated production of olive groves in the province of Alicante will be around 8,000 tonnes, which means that it will be low, but will experience a slight rebound compared to that of 2021/2022 (5,000 tonnes).
The production is classified as the worst of the decade and supposes economic losses of more than 50 per cent in Alicante.
In addition, ASAJA (Alicante Young Farmers Association) reports that this year’s production is developing in an “irregular” way in the different cultivation areas, as the rainfall has not affected all municipalities equally, even registering inequalities in trees of a same farm.
“The inclement weather is negatively affecting the crops, a fact that is occurring in all the producing areas of the country”.
“This, together with the fact that we came from a disastrous campaign, means that there is no stock, and therefore the prices of olive oil are skyrocketing on the supermarket shelves, exactly 86.4 per cent more expensive than in this same period of 2022. In fact, ASAJA Alicante considers that the price will continue to rise in the coming months”, said the organisation.
However, ASAJA Alicante points out that these prices do not have an impact on the farmer as expected, and points out that the supply chains, supported by the inflationary trend, may benefit from the increase, although it acknowledges that the price increase is normal when there is such a significant decline in production.
In addition, ASAJA regrets that the producer does not obtain the economic returns commensurate with such an increase, also having to face the increase in costs that the agricultural sector is going through.
“We cannot talk about avoiding depopulation, we cannot talk about the incorporation of young farmers to the field if a price that allows us to make our farms profitable is not guaranteed.”
“And we also have to deal with the lack of reciprocity to which Europe condemns us for imposing different rules of the game on us than those of third countries”, remarked the president of ASAJA Alicante, José Vicente Andreu.
He recalled that the Government decided to inject €115 million to agriculture in Morocco in October to promote its development, money that would be used to plant 600,000 new olive trees.
The head of the ASAJA Alicante olive grove and olive oil sector, Hugo Quintanilla, stated it insists on the need to make consumers aware of the quality of extra virgin olive oil and invites them to check the labels to verify the origin and the preferable date of consumption.
“Especially when it is filtered, it can be preserved in good condition up to 36 months, but after 9-12 months the organoleptic properties of liquid gold begin to decline”, he said.
Quintanilla said that it is also wise to review the composition of the product, as the mixture of olive oil with other fats, such as sunflower oil, is currently prohibited in Spain, although its manufacture is legal in other European countries, and it can lead to a “misleading and camouflaged” sales in supermarkets promoted by foreign packers to lower prices and attract consumers.
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Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.
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