The 2014/2015 olive season was not good for Portugal, resulting in the increase of olive oil price and imports. According to data of the State Statistical Office of the country INE during the first 8 months of 2015, the Portuguese imports increased in value compared to the corresponding period of 2014 by 91 million euros (70%), amounting totally 221 million euros. This increase is due to the increase of imported quantities, and in 40% increase in the average import price per kg from 2.08 euros/kg to 2.92 euros/kg. The contraction in domestic olive oil production for the season 2014/2015 reached 35%. The Portuguese needs, essentially, were covered from Tunisia.
In particular the imports resulted from EU countries in a rate of 88.6%. The major supplier was Spain with a share of 87.4% of the total, followed by Tunisia (9.5%), Morocco (1.45%), France (0.75%), Italy (0.42%), Chile (0.26%), Peru (0.22%), etc. Especially 7,177 tonnes were imported from Tunisia (compared with zero imports in 2014), with an average price of 2.84 euros per kilo.
Domestic production and self-sufficiency
Portugal is almost self-sufficient in olive oil, however, the production is insufficient to meet external demand. In the first 8 months of 2015, the Portuguese olive oil exports were decreased by 6% in quantity compared to the corresponding period of 2014, but increased by 17% in value thanks to the increase by 25% of the average export price.
It is noted that the average olive oil export price, which was 3.48 euros/kg for the first 8 months of 2015, is higher by 19% compared to the average import price (2.92 euros/kg), that is Portugal imports olive oil cheaper and exports more expensive. The Portuguese exports of olive oil for this period amounted to 70,911 tonnes at a value of 246.9 million euros. The main customers of the Portuguese olive oil (in terms of quantity) are Spain (42%), Brazil (32.5%), Italy (11%), France (4.6%) and Angola (3.2%).
The Association of Olive Portugal mentioned that the Portuguese olive production of the year 2014/2015 was reduced from 92,000 tonnes to 61,000 tonnes. According to the General Secretary of the Association, in order to meet external demand, the Portuguese productive companies supply olive oil of high quality from international markets to maintain the level of quality of the Portuguese product among the best olive oils in the world.
The International Olive Council estimates that the 2015/2016 Portuguese production will recover and reach again the level of 90,000 tonnes. Apart from the reduced production, the reduction in the olive oil exported quantities was due to the economic condition of two of the most important clients of Portugal, Angola and Brazil, where the exported quantities decreased by 30% and 15%, respectively.
However, the country’s self-sufficiency in olive oil exceeds 90% (data of Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries 2011), thanks to significant local production, which is 2.4% of world production and consumption of olive oil (data from the agricultural year 2012/2013). Moreover, olive oil is one of the key products of Portuguese diet, with an average annual consumption equivalent to 7.8 liters/year per person.