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Alentejo - Olive oil exports exceed wine exports

The 10th edition of Olivum Talks, an event organized by the Association of Olive Growers and Olive Presses of Portugal, brought together more than 220 professionals and experts from around the country to discuss the challenges and future of the sector.

The meeting was divided into two discussion panels moderated by Olivum's Executive Director, Susana Sassetti, and focused on the challenges of water management in olive groves, the impact of olive oil on the Portuguese economy and updated data from the study 'Alentejo Leading International Olive Growing', commissioned by the Association of Olive Growers and Olive Mills of Portugal.

One of the points highlighted was the growth in olive oil exports over the last 20 years. According to the Managing Director of Consulai, Pedro Santos, one of the companies responsible for the study, exports have increased 12 times in volume and 18 times in value. This performance has contributed significantly to the national economy, representing a positive balance of 515 million euros in the trade balance, highlighting olive oil as one of the country's main economic drivers which, for the first time, has surpassed the export figures for wine.

In fact, Portugal has all the conditions to become one of the top three olive oil producers in the world. According to one of the experts present, Juan Vilar, "the weight of extra virgin olive oil is particularly significant in Portugal, due to the high percentage of modern and mechanized olive groves, and also to the great evolution of olive oil mills, with the largest modern and high-capacity industrial park in the world". He also said that, in the last campaign, "Portuguese olive groves were the most productive on the planet, surpassing Spanish olive groves".

Given this reality, it is estimated that national production this year will be between 150,000 and 160,000 tons of olive oil. However, Olivum estimates that Portugal could reach a production of between 250,000 and 300,000 tons. "The fact that we are still in the process of growing and converting from traditional crops to hedgerow crops means that production is not yet at full capacity, but we hope to achieve this within four to five years," according to the president of Olivum, Pedro Lopes.

The 10th edition of the Olivum Talks was attended by the Minister for the Economy and the Sea, António Costa e Silva, on December 5th.

Source: Planície, 12 December 2023


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