According to Italian agricultural association Coldiretti, based on data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the decline in production has been most pronounced in Spain, Turkey, and Greece.
In Spain, production is expected to be 34% lower than the average of the last four years, amounting to around 765,000 tonnes.
Production in Turkey should drop by around 100,000 tonnes to 280,000, while Greece should produce half of what it did last year, at 200,000 tonnes.
The only major olive oil-producing country that is expected to see an increase in production this year is Tunisia, from 180,000 to 200,000, but this is still below the average of the last five years (228,000 tonnes).
Italian Production Down
Elsewhere, olive oil production in central and northern Italy is expected to fall by one-third in the 2023/2024 harvest, while production in southern Italy will grow by 34%, also according to Coldiretti.
This means that total national production is expected to be around 290,000 tonnes, again below the average of the last four years.
The report attributes the decline in production to a number of factors, including rain during flowering, drought, and high temperatures.
Puglia Shows Promise
Puglia, which accounts for half of Italian olive oil production, should be the only region to see a significant increase in production, growing by 50% compared to last year's difficult campaign.
Coldiretti data shows that Italy imports three out of four bottles of olive oil consumed and that imports of olive oil from abroad hit a record high in 2022, at over €2.2 billion. This dependence on foreign olive oil exposes Italy to fluctuations in foreign production and to speculation on international markets, it added.
Coldiretti president Ettore Prandini called for government intervention in the country's olive oil industry, which is worth over €3 billion. He said that the government should develop a national strategic plan for olive growing that focuses on supporting existing businesses and recovering abandoned olive groves.